RESIDENTS of Guarlford Road in Malvern are angry at the way they have been treated by Malvern Hills Trust over a controversial planning issue.

The trust, formerly the Conservators, has been sent an application by developer The Rose Farm Partnership for permission to build an access road across the common to serve a proposed new housing estate.

The permission, technically known as an "easement", can be granted by the trust in return for a payment.

But the residents say they were only told about the application for the easement in letters they received from the trust on Saturday, which gave the residents just 10 working days in which to respond.

Graeme Crisp, one of the residents, said: "Why the sudden rush? This proposal will affect local residents, users of the common and visitors arriving via the magnificent approach along the B4211 from Guarlford. It deserves proper consideration.

"It is impossible to take professional advice in such a tight timescale, and many residents are on holiday and will not even know about the proposals until it is too late.”

"The trust should publish details of the proposals on their website so that members of the public, who pay towards the trust through the precept, can make informed comment."

He said residents were hoping to call a public meeting so they can make their feelings known.

Trust director Duncan Bridges said: "The trust has received an application for an easement across its land off Chance Lane. This will be considered at a future meeting of the board.

"We have notified the adjoining landowners and asked them if they would like to comment on the impact of the proposed easement on the land under our jurisdiction.

"There was no point in asking for comments until such time as all the details of the application had been received

"This is not a general public consultation. The request for an easement has to be assessed by the trust in accordance with the criteria set out in our acts and with charity law.

"It is not within the remit of MHT to make a judgement on whether this is a suitable site for development. That would be a decision for Malvern Hills District Council were a planning application to be made in due course, and the public would be consulted as part of that planning process."