A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build more than 60 homes in Powick will see it ‘hanging on to its village status for dear life’, a councillor has warned.
Coun Tom Wells spoke to the Observer after the proposal for land off Hospital Lane was approved on appeal, despite the application being thrown out by Malvern Hills District Council’s Northern Area Development Committee in January.
Selbourne Homes’ scheme is the latest in a series of developments to be passed in Powick, with more than 200 homes given the green light in total which is set to increase the village by 33 per cent.
Coun Tom Wells, councillor for the area, told The Observer if proposals continued to go ahead in the area it would eventually join on to Worcester.
“We are hanging on to our village status for dear life,” he said. “With this continual sporadic development it won’t be long before we are part of Worcester or Malvern. It will just be one long urban extension.
“The integrity of this village of Powick is now being wiped away by a Government Inspectorate’s ruling in favour of speculative development.
“In 20 years of being a local councillor I can’t think of a more frustrating situation.
“I gave it everything I had and I feel passionately the Government Inspectorate has made the wrong decision.”
The original application, along with a carbon-copy submitted in March, had been deferred due to evidence of contamination at the site and Coun Wells questioned the ‘pointless’ role MHDC played in the decision.
“Why don’t we do away with the local planning authority and refer everything to the Planning Inspectorate?” he said.
“There also has to be a question mark to whether these houses will be sold, given the history of the site.
“I for one wouldn’t want to purchase a new house with this level of contamination in the gardens. The asbestos, mercury and insert waste materials have been proven to be found on site and will end up being part of people’s gardens.”
An MHDC spokesman said the council would not have to pay all of the developer’s costs in the case, but did not have an exact figure. He also said a detailed site investigation and risk assessment had to be carried out and approved before any development could take place.
Coun Melanie Baker, portfolio holder for planning and housing on MHDC, added: “We are disappointed with the decision as we felt we had good grounds for defending the appeal.
“However we are pleased the inspector noted we were right to take a precautionary approach in respect of the contamination and residents’ fears were genuine and a material consideration in relation to this application.”