WHAT exceptional circumstances are there to justify 43 houses in a small area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) on Rothwell Road playing fields in Malvern Wells?

It is heartening to read the Malvern AONB's 10-page response on the Malvern Hills District Council website (application number 14/00262/FUL). They say:

"We believe this is a major development. It is also the largest development proposed in the Malvern Hills AONB for many years. For a small AONB this is a significant development."

They make direct references to the National Planning Policy Framework (section 116) which says: "Planning permission should be refused for major developments in these designated areas except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest."

Are there exceptional circumstances? Is it in the public interest?

The Malvern AONB concludes: 'We consider that insufficient weight has been given to the importance of the AONB and that the development is not sustainable and therefore contrary to national policy. We therefore recommend that the application is refused."

To build here would set a dangerous precedent. We do hope that the council will vote no.

Victoria Walton

Malvern Wells