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Residents cheered councillors when a refusal decision was reached on a controversial development
A DECISION to refuse a controversial planning application was met with cheers.
Almost 100 people from Powick turned up to protest against the plans to build 45 homes, including 18 affordable dwellings, near the Crown pub, close to the A449 Worcester-Malvern road.
Nine members of Malvern Hills District Council’s northern area development management committee voted against the proposals from Bovis Homes and three abstained at the meeting on Tuesday.
Following the decision, villager Alan Wallcroft of King Charles Avenue said: “I am extremely pleased with the arguments put forward on our behalf.”
During the meeting, county and district councillor for Powick Tom Wells had made strong objections about traffic in the area. He said: “The traffic movements resulting from the application would cause significant and irreversible harm to the well being of residents living in Russell Close, and beyond, by destroying the safe and quiet environment they currently enjoy.”
He also said the proposed scheme should not have been treated as a separate development but as an extension of Russell Close, which meant the road was not adequate to serve the total 76 homes.
The Manual for Streets – a national document for guidance on highways – states a road must be 5.5 metres wide with two metres wide pathways either side on a road which serves more than 50 homes, but Russell Close is just 4.8 metres.
The development, which was planned to take two years, would have seen Russell Close, a residential cul de sac, carry lorries and dumper trucks for the build in the short term, but also become a main feeder road in the long term.
Christopher McSweeney, a resident of Russell Close, spoke against the proposals. “My children are currently lucky enough to be able to safely play in the street, walk to school, and visit their friends at the other end of the close,” he said.
“How can it be safe for my children to walk to school along a road where heavy construction traffic is attempting to make its way around sharp corners? How can it be safe for my friend to visit his friend where such a trip is no longer along a quiet close but crossing a busy road?”
The five official reasons for refusal were the development was not sustainable and would create demonstrable harm, it would result in a poor environment for residents of the affordable housing, there was a noise impact of the A449 and the Crown pub for new residents, there were no amenities to serve the development, and the highways were not sufficient for additional building or residential traffic.
The developers are expected to appeal against the decision. Worcestershire County Council local plans officer Duncan Rudge made sure all arguments given by councillors against the proposals would be viable when it went to a public hearing later this year.
But he warned as the Highways Agency had not made a strong objection, the councillors may be met with costs if they cannot find an expert to prove their highway fears.
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