RESIDENTS have described a decision to reconsider the refusal of 53 homes in Leigh Sinton as a disgrace.
Malvern Hills District Hills planning committee will now discuss the proposal on January 16 even though it was thrown out by the council’s northern area development management committee a fortnight ago (December 4).
Residents had claimed the bid would be detrimental to the ‘gap’ between the village and Malvern, a view which was agreed by several councillors who saw the plan voted out.
But now Duncan Rudge, the council’s development control manager, has recommended the application be decided by the main planning body.
He said the matter fell under the necessary criteria for referral which applies when a decision is in ‘substantial’ conflict with national planning policy, has district wide significance or when clarification is needed for the reason for refusal.
Les Williamson, who spoke on behalf of residents in Leigh Sinton at the December 4 meeting, slammed the council’s latest move and claimed they were ‘frightened to death’ of the developers CALA Homes.
The Chapel Close resident, said the ‘significant gap’ was established in 1993 and maintained free from development for 20 years and even upheld by a Government planning inspector in 2011.
“The refusal was a well reasoned democratically agreed decision, it was very close but fair and the right place for a final decision to be made.
“Now Mr Rudge is saying ‘we are going to lose and its going to cost the council money’.
“If the decision is to be challenged that the gap shouldn’t be there it should be by a planning inspector who put it in and not by a mere planning officer.
“So many people in the village believe it is a disgrace.
“It would be a travesty of democracy if the decision to refuse it was overturned and it would turn Leigh Sinton into an urban sprawl.”
Mr Williamson said a petition emphasising the public unrest over the issue would be posted to every member of the planning committee prior to January’s meeting.