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"Abandoned" villagers slam council in Hagley planning row
9:00am Thursday 10th January 2013 in News
FURIOUS protestors say councillors have abandoned Hagley to construction companies after plans for a major housing estate were approved.
A controversial application for 175 homes at a site on Kidderminster Road was given the green light by Bromsgrove district councillors at a packed meeting on Monday (January 7).
The decision sparked a furious reaction from residents opposed to the estate, who claim it could turn Hagley into a satellite settlement with no character.
Francesca Evans, from Hagley Residents Action Group, said: "Hagley has been abandoned by the council regarding the core strategy which was flawed from the start - 1,000 people told them it was wrong and gave them good reasons which they ignored, this has made Hagley a welcome mat for developers."
More than 100 protestors at the meeting urged councillors on the committee to reject the application, arguing amenities like schools and doctors' surgeries were already at breaking point and extra traffic from the new homes would damage air quality while a new traffic island to serve the estate, dubbed Hell Island by protestors, would be unsafe and congested.
Hagley councillor Chris Scurrell said the unprecedented opposition should not be ignored by committee members.
However speakers for applicants CALA Homes said the area had been earmarked for residential development for 25 years.
They argued the negative impact on air quality would be negligible, considerable work had been carried out on the scheme’s design and layout, and there were no justifiable planning reasons to refuse outline planning permission.
Committee member Cllr John Tidmarsh said although he sympathised with villagers, it was Hagley’s turn to help meet housing need for the whole of Bromsgrove district while Cllr Rod Laight told the meeting his head was spinning after hearing the amount of advice they had been given.
After the meeting, Darren Humphreys, regional managing director for CALA Homes Midlands, said: “We welcome Bromsgrove District Council’s decision to grant outline planning permission.
“We will continue to engage with the local community as we put together the detail of the scheme and are planning a series of workshops to enable local people and parish councillors the opportunity to have their say on the kind of development they would like to see moving forward.”
CALA Homes has set up a dedicated email address for questions about the development at firstname.lastname@example.org Francesca Evans added: "Hagley has already built 250 homes in the last decade and with the current housing being built at the moment it actually will be meeting housing needs."
Campaigners are determined to continue the fight and say a legal challenge to the decision is almost certain.