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4th Jul, 2022

New homes may put children at risk

Malvern Editorial 24th Apr, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

FEARS have been raised about plans to build dozens of new homes next to a ‘dangerous’ railway crossing.

Malvern Hills District Council has refused Taylor Wimpey’s proposal for 55 homes at Eastward Road although it is expected the developer will appeal the decision.

Several members of the council’s Southern Area Development Management Committee expressed concerns children living in the new homes would have easy access to a level crossing where there have been fatal accidents.

Network Rail had not formally opposed the plans although a representative admitted the development would ‘create a trespass and vandalism risk’ to the line and called for a six foot fence to be installed along the site.

Coun Mike Soley said there had been three deaths on the crossing in the 25 years he had lived nearby in Oakfield Road.

“My biggest worry is there are two football pitches on the other side of that crossing which are used every weekend without fail.

“That crossing is already a busy crossing and now we are talking about building another housing estate where kids are going to live and have access to it.

“I don’t want this development because of the danger to the children.”

Coun Melanie Baker echoed the concerns but also questioned whether the development should go ahead because of a lack of primary school spaces in the area.

But planning officers on the night argued both reasons were not ‘robust’ enough and would not hold up if the refusal was appealed because they had not been stated when a similar application had been turned down in May last year.

Ultimately the committee threw out the latest set of plans over concerns the new homes would be located within the ‘significant gap’ – one mile worth green land which keeps Leigh Sinton separate from Malvern.

Stuart Field speaking on behalf of Taylor Wimpey had challenged the view on the night arguing the ‘gap’ would still be longer than a mile even if the development was approved.

Coun Clive Smith, who moved refusal, said: “The developer can’t get away from the fact that this does impact on the significant gap. This is a Trojan horse application. If it is approved there will be development right the way across the field.”

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