23rd Sep, 2020

Campaigners hit out as plans to build 2,560 homes by Webheath near approval

Editorial Correspondent 20th Feb, 2020 Updated: 20th Feb, 2020

CAMPAIGNERS have hit out at plans to build 2,560 new homes by Webheath after Redditch planners effectively approved the project.

On Wednesday evening, February 19, Redditch councillors voted to delegate the final decision to its Head of Planning and Regeneration who has recommended its approval.

Much of the debate at the Town Hall meeting revolved around how long the development would take and traffic flows on Foxlydiate Lane, which would give access while building the first 200 homes.

A new Foxlydiate Lane ‘haul road’ aimed at easing congestion during the early phase of the development, was described by officers as ‘acceptable’.

But hitting back, Redditch County Councillor Robin Lunn (Lab, Redditch North) said: “Acceptable to who exactly? It’s not acceptable to residents and it’s not acceptable to those who use the lane either.

“Not enough consideration has been given to an access via the bridge on Birchfield Road which is a much better point than Foxlydiate Lane.”

One Foxlydiate Lane resident said: “The lane is only five-metres wide and is simply not big enough for construction vehicles to pass by safely.

“It is also totally unsuitable for 200 new homes.

“Not to mention the further disruption residents will face when utility companies dig it up to connect up the gas mains, sewage and electric.”

Developers have promised to make a £2.2million contribution to Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to help mitigate pressures it may face as a result of new residents moving on to the site.

The location was given the green light by government inspector Michael Hetherington two years ago to meet Redditch’s housing needs as part of its ‘Local Plan 4’.

But since then the borough’s housing need calculation has been virtually halved, from 337 houses per annum to 181, calling into question the need for the entire development.

While the vast majority of homes, of which 40 per cent will be affordable housing, come under Bromsgrove District land, concerns have been raised about how it will affect Redditch.

Borough Council leader Coun Matt Dormer (Con, West) said: “I’m not happy with the whole development and I still say it’s in the wrong place.

“However we are where we are and I’m pleased we have some mitigation for the residents of Foxlydiate Lane and Birchfield Road.

“It’s not going to be easy but going forward we now have a five year housing supply which means we will not be susceptible to hostile applications.

“It will now be up to me and the officers to ensure the rules are adhered to and I will do everything to make sure they are.

“My residents know they can contact me at any time.”

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