Villagers' protests at homes plan fail

Malvern Gazette: ANGRY SHOUTS: Villagers meet to hear the planning committee discuss the homes plan. ANGRY SHOUTS: Villagers meet to hear the planning committee discuss the homes plan.

THIRTY-nine homes will be built in Powick, despite strong opposition from villagers.

The homes off Sparrowhall Lane were given the goahead despite one councillor’s fears it would merge Powick and Colletts Green into a larger village.

Order was called several times as feelings ran high at a packed meeting of Malvern Hills District Council’s northern area development management committee.

Objectors said plans to improve the junction and ban right turns to and from Sparrowhall Lane at the A449 would turn nearby roads into rat runs.

Powick parish councillor Andy Lamb said it would urbanise a rural area.

He said: “We are now a parish without a post office, without a shop of any significance, with a school that is full and a parish hall that is overbooked constantly.

“All these pressures are added to with development.”

Peter Walden, of The Drive, said drivers who could not turn right to Malvern would probably carry out a milelong diversion through the village.

He predicted this would lead to 2,000 cars per week in the village plus up to an extra 70 cars from the new homes.

He said: “Colletts Green will become a bypass for the A449.”

He also said residents believed the dual carriageway at the A449 junction should be a single carriageway with a 40 miles-per-hour limit.

However, Nigel Vening, director at Bannersgate Transportation, said the planned junction was safe and it would be more like one extra car every three minutes at peak time.

He added: “It’s unsafe to continue the junction in its current state.”

The meeting heard there had been five accidents there in ten years.

However, there were angry shouts from the public when Brian Sharp, of the Highways Authority, said the developer’s plan was the best option.

Mr Sharp said: “We have a limited budget as every authority and that’s why we haven’t done anything.

He added: “It’s a chance to grasp the money and run and get somebody else to pay for it.”

Coun Tom Wells suggested councillors refuse the plan as it would effectively extend the entrance to Powick 500 metres down the road and cause significant and demonstrable harm to the small, rural community.

He referred to a planning inspector’s report from 1995 which was against development on the site. However, planning officers said his reason for refusal was not strong enough in this case because the council’s lack of a five-year supply of housing land meant the need for housing would outweigh the harm.

Councillors approved the plans by 11 votes to one – but only if junction improvements still allowed right turns towards Malvern.

After the meeting, Mr Walden said: “I think the important issues have at last come to light.”

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