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New fight for village that defeated builder
A VILLAGE that recently saw a plan to build 53 new homes thrown out now faces a fresh application for 32 houses on a different site.
Wolverley Homes has just put in a planning application to build the homes in land next to Elmhurst Farm in Leigh Sinton.
The greenfield site is a short distance from Kiln Lane, site of the 53-homes application that was turned down by Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) planners in December.
And it is also close to another application site for 10 houses at Hop Pole Green, currently the subject of an appeal by the applicant, Lady Christabel Flight.
The district council is under pressure to approve housing developments, because the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), with its five-year housing allocation, has not yet been approved.
Until it is, developers can point to guidelines in the National Policy Planning Framework, which is much more in favour of building.
Leigh Sinton resident Hilary Thompson said she and fellow residents were “dismayed” by the latest application.
She said: “This kind of unplanned development of Leigh Sinton, carried out by opportunistic developers and land owners taking full advantage of the housing supply situation, is straining the already overburdened infrastructure of the village.
“This is development without responsibility and without the approval or participation of the community.
The district council has been neutered by the prospect of special measures if it refuses applications.
“This is an assault on local democracy.”
The Wolverley Homes application is for 32 homes, 16 of them affordable, on a site just outside the village’s settlement boundary.
Stephen Seymour, who chairs Leigh and Bransford Parish Council’s planning committee, said: “We are happy to have development of an appropriate type in Leigh Sinton but people resent the way the developers are pushing their schemes through.
“The Government i s encouraging villages to create neighbourhood plans, but what is the point if we’re forced to accept plans like this?”
Coun Tony Penn, portfolio holder for planning and housing, says the district council is far from neutered, as the refusal of the older application showed.
He said: “The council still looks rigorously at applications which are submitted despite the unfortunate position we are in with the National Policy Planning Framework, which is imposed on us by central government.”
He said the council was working hard on the latest version of the SWDP. He said: “If we can get phase one of the SWDP approved at the beginning of March, then we will be in a much stronger position with respect to developers.”
The developer was unavailable for comment.
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