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Committee heckled for approving development in Leigh Sinton
A COMMITTEE was heckled and unhappy protestors called for a councillor’s resignation after a decision to throw out a planning application for 53 houses in Leigh Sinton, near Malvern.
Angry people called for the head of Malvern Hills District Council leader David Hughes, who is not on the committee that approved the plans, after he said he supported the application because it hardly affected the significant gap between Malvern and Leigh Sinton.. This angered most of more than 100 people present with a few calling out from the crowd for his resignation for not representing their views.
After having the plans turned down by the council’s development control committee in December, planning officers took the proposal to the district’s planning committee which approved it at the meeting last Thursday.
Councillor Chris Cheeseman led the move for approval stating if it was not approved they would be facing costs for an appeal, and penalties if they did not increase the buffer of land available to developers.
He said: “I am aware of great objections of the people here but I am also aware there are 70,000 other residents not here tonight.”
The distrit has been left vulnerable to developers as it could not demonstrate a five-year land supply as part of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Speaking after the meeting, Stephen Seymour, vice-chairman of Leigh and Bransford Parish Council, said he was very disappointed about the decision and felt the council were not working in favour of local neighbourhood plans.
He said: “I think district councillors are not prepared to stand up to the Government and it is a shame. The officers are there to give advice but it is up to councillors to take a moral stand if they think it is wrong.
“They’re supposed to be elected to support the people but I don’t see them doing that.”
Developer Cala Homes met with parish councils and the local community before the plans went forward for approval.
Managing director Darren Humphreys said: “We have designed a quality scheme in keeping with the character of the village, which will not only provide much-needed homes in the area but will also generate significant investment in local facilities and services.
“We are committed to consulting closely with the local communities in which we build and will be holding a series of workshops to get local input into the detailed designs of the development.”
Six councillors voted for the plan with four against.
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