OUTLINE plans to build 2,560 by Webheath – but on Bromsgrove District land – have been approved by Bromsgrove planners.
At a planning meeting on Monday at Parkside in Bromsgrove, branded ‘a shambles’ by Andy Boss, chair of Bentley parish council, councillors rubber stamped the plans despite pleas to delay a decision while a consultation on the district’s future plans and housing needs was completed.
“What got me was the speed they rushed everything through,” thundered Coun Boss.
“This wasn’t something like 450 houses, this was for 2,560 houses with up to 7,000 cars coming on to the local roads.
“They could have waited. Coun Sue Baxter (Wythall, Bromsgrove Alliance) asked for it to be deferred until the Bromsgrove housing plan had gone through but they were so wound up they wanted it done that night.
“People were asking questions which weren’t being answered.
“It was an absolute farce and a shambles.”
The development had been 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 needs calculation has been virtually halved, from 337 houses per annum to 181, calling into question the entire development.
The project has been opposed by Borough Council leader Coun Matt Dormer (Con, West) while Redditch County Councillor Robin Lunn (Lab, Redditch North) spoke against the plan at the meeting.
“I feel very aggrieved that this plan has gone through, and it calls into question the government’s entire national planning policy framework,” said Coun Lunn.
“Leaving aside the issue of whether we even need the houses anyway, just the suitability of the road network to sustain this development has to be called into question.
“They are proposing using Foxlydiate Lane as access for building the first 200 homes; anyone who knows that road will know how entirely unsuitable it is for this.
“And with Bromsgrove still consulting on its housing plans, isn’t this all a little premature?
“No one could say how long this development is likely to last, particularly if the need for the houses isn’t there anymore.
“The one silver lining is that the planning application to demolish the Foxlydiate Pub comes later and they cannot say ‘we need the houses’ as there’s 2,560 of them down the road.”
Coun Boss also raised concerns over the road network.
“They’re going to be blocking the right hand turn onto the Bromsgrove Highway while the work is carried out,” he said.
“Drivers will have to turn left, go over the bridge, around the island, back over the bridge and then onto the highway.
“Do you think they will do that? No, they’ll go cross country through Bentley to Bromsgrove and Droitwich.
“The speed limit through Bentley is 60mph.
“We’ve got people on pushbikes, ponies and horses and those drivers will be doing up to 60mph down the lanes – and you can see what’s going to happen.”