A PROPOSAL for 92 homes in Malvern Link has been branded a ‘planning disaster’ by the town’s civic society.
Bob Tilley, Malvern Civic Society planning sub-committee chairman, said giving the green light to the application would be a ‘serious mistake’ and requested it be refused in letters addressed to the district council.
There are currently 48 homes on the earmarked site at Pickersleigh Grove including 43 rentable properties, but Festival Housing’s application is for 90 homes in total with 40 to be sold on the open market, 23 intermediate and 29 social rented homes.
The plans have been revised since they were submitted in August however in Mr Tilley’s latest letter sent this month he said the civic society’s recommendation for refusal was now even stronger.
He claimed the current properties could be refurbished and insulated economically and demolishing them presented a ‘significant environmental cost’.
Mr Tilley also said adding more homes to a nearby field was ‘unacceptable’.
“The plans in short are a planning disaster and importantly will result in the loss of many affordable homes. This will repeat the mistake made in Malvern Link at Clarence Court which was one mistake too many.
“Approving this application will have major lasting consequences reducing the supply of affordable housing and building on an important green central lung in Malvern.”
In his first letter, Mr Tilley warned developing on the land would make it difficult to defend further applications on neighbouring fields.
He said the existing houses were built for servicemen returning from the Second World War and the layout of the properties should be retained.
“The layout of the site and the central green is in fact ‘fit for heroes’. With next year being the centenary of the commencement of WWI it would be fitting to respect our former service personnel by retaining the openness of this housing estate.”
The council has yet to make a decision on the application.
Duncan Smith, head of new business and initiatives at Festival Housing, moved to address the criticism.
“Festival has provided a report to the council which details the findings of a thorough investigation into the cost of insulating the properties at Pickersleigh Grove.
“The flats are of Cornish construction and as such are designated defective structures under the 1985 Housing Act.
“They have exceeded their initial design life by 35 years and have now reached a point in time where significant reinvestment in the region of £1.5 million pounds is required to bring them up to current standards.
“Festival has successfully completed a similar project in Droitwich (pictured) and residents were very pleased with the brand new homes we developed for them.”