RESIDENTS fear their village is ‘losing its identity’ after a proposal for ten new homes in their neighbourhood is now set to go ahead.
Last Wednesday (December 4) the district council’s Northern Area Development Management Committee declared it would not oppose Lady Christabel Flight’s application for land off Hop Pole Green in Leigh Sinton.
The committee had previously deferred a decision on the matter so the developer could consult further with residents, however the applicant took the proposal straight to appeal which the planning members declared they would not contest.
However the committee defied officers’ recommendations on the night and threw out CALA Homes’ proposal for 53 homes at Kiln Lane declaring it would be detrimental to the gap between Leigh Sinton and Malvern.
Despite the decision residents who had packed out the Rothchild Suite at Worcester’s Bank House Hotel were bitterly disappointed the first proposal would now go ahead.
Barbara Davies on behalf of Hop Pole Green Action Group, feared the Kiln Lane plan could still go through on appeal.
She said: “Any development whether its for two, ten or 50 houses will have a knock-on effect.
“With this application, Kiln Lane and another in the pipeline, Leigh Sinton will increase in size by nearly a third, leaving a much enlarged village without any centre or identity.
“In addition and even more alarming, the village is suffering from uncontrolled expansion that is outstripping its infrastructure capacity on every level.”
However she added Malvern Hills District Council and other local authorities were put in a ‘predicament’ by the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework which encourages housebuilding.
“It is clear from the heavily over-subscribed agenda for this meeting that the pressure for housing development in the area is out of control. We are now manifestly embarked upon a free-for-all by landowners and developers.”
When addressing the committee she added: “You may all believe that your hands are tied by central Government policy and diktat.
“Your hands are only tied if you agree to them being so. This is supposed to be a democratic society.
“What is happening here is undemocratic but you are free to do whatever you believe to be right. If you don’t believe in what you are being asked to do, then stop doing it.”