10th Aug, 2020

Officers under fire over lack of survey at controversial housing site

Malvern Editorial 1st Oct, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

PLANNING officers have come under fire after failing to undertake a traffic survey at a controversial site in Malvern Link earmarked for 110 homes.

Proposals for the development at Lower Howsell Road came before Malvern Hills District Council’s Southern Area Development Committee in June but were deferred for an ‘independent transport review’ to be carried out.

However when the application re-appeared at a meeting last Wednesday (September 23) Malvern Hills planning chiefs were heavily criticised as councillors claimed no study had taken place and believed they reviewed the findings of figures already obtained.

Coun Melanie Baker, portfolio holder for planning and housing, said: “While I think we are all in agreement for a need of housing, I do feel a need for transparency and fairness to the public in that when this committee ask for something, it is delivered.

“This committee asked for an independent transport review to be undertaken and my understanding is that has not happened.

“We should be asking for a fresh review not a review of the information provided.”

Ward member Coun Kwai Hung Chan added: “I thought this traffic review would give us a fresh start but in fact when I received the agenda it basically said the review took place not as a new exercise, but as a review of past papers.

“I am fully disappointed in the way I have been misled with all of this and I feel really sorry for local residents.”

Concerns had been previously raised about the safety of the proposed entrance in to the site, with highways chiefs saying the Spring Lane junction was ‘under strain’ before pulling a u-turn on the decision and pledging to pump £200,000 into infrastructure improvements.

The development would include 40 per cent affordable housing but resident Lyn Norris raised the issue of increased traffic and said the town could turn into a ‘concrete jungle’ while ward member Coun Robert Kerby reiterated the call for a traffic survey.

“The review findings we have seen do not bare resemblance to the deferral decision we made at the last meeting,” Coun Kerby said.

“A full assessment should be carried out involving vehicle count and people count in term time, not in holiday time.

“We are in September, the usual chaos in Malvern is with us, so it is an ideal time.”

Plans were deferred again by the committee for the review to take place.

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