RESIDENTS fighting plans to build 3,400 new homes at Webheath and Bentley have voiced their disappointment after a planning inspector failed to throw the project out.
HM Inspector Simon Hetherington had raised a number of issues over how Redditch borough and Bromsgrove district councils handled the applications during a two day hearing at Redditch town hall.
And in his report he offered the councils the opportunity to withdraw the plans without loss of face due to the pressing need of a comprehensive Green Belt review required in Bromsgrove district, where the bulk of the homes would have been built.
Failing that and in view of the extensive work done on the plans, Mr Hetherington said he would be prepared to look at the applications again – provided the ‘substantive concerns’ he had raised were addressed ‘in a positive and robust manner’.
Dave Rose, chairman of the Webheath Action Group (WAG) said: “It’s a little disappointing but not a surprise. The point is that whenever the council looked at local scenarios they always assumed Webheath was going to be built on and in my view they still have not given us an honest appraisal.”
He said he believed that the only logical reason for the development was because of its proximity to Bromsgrove and the resulting trade thousands of new homes could bring to its high street.
“All we want is a fair and democratic hearing of this situation,” he said.
A spokesperson for Redditch borough council said: “We are pleased that the Inspector has recognised the amount of work that has gone in to this already.
“Our next steps are to consider how we can take things forward in light of the concerns raised. This is a piece of work which we are now embarking on.”