A CONTROVERSIAL plan to allow a road to be built over a common in Malvern was rejected at a dramatic meeting last night.

At a special meeting of the Malvern Hills Trust, held at Malvern College on Tuesday night, board members voted against granting access for the Guarlford Road/Chance Lane 'easement'.

The road would have provided access to a proposed new housing estate, for which Rose Farm Partnership is seeking planning permission, and Malvern Hills Trust would have received at least £2million from the developer if it allowed the easement to be built on its land.

Tuesday's meeting, which lasted nearly four hours, was attended by around 100 local residents who were vocal, loudly challenging points made by the trust and shouting out their own questions, even after the public contribution phase of the meeting had finished.

At the start, a group of residents represented by Michael Huskinson presented their views to the board. Mr Huskinson said: "I represent a group of residents who have grave concerns about granting this easement.

"It is complete scandal and I implore you to follow your principles and at least defer your decision until the matter (plans for the new homes) is resolved."

Another resident who addressed the board was Katharine Harris, who said: "I, in common with many others, have lived here for over 25 years. The main reason many of us chose to live here was the wide open spaces protected by the trust.

"This is a case of changing the goal-posts and granting this easement will be contrary to your principles.

"If this decision goes through, you will be remembered and never forgiven."

One contentious issue at the meeting was the conflict of interest that some members of the trust's board have due to also being Malvern Hills district councillors as that authority will decide on the application for the housing estate.

After a vote, it was decided that Sarah Rouse, Roger Hall-Jones, John Michael, Chris and James O'Donnell, as well as county councillors John Raine and Lucy Hodgson, would not be allowed to vote on granting the easement.

When the matter came up, Cllr Hall-Jones said: "In the documents it says in the past tense that this easement has been negotiated.

"It has not. It is only being put on a potential list which offers no guarantee that it will go further.

"I do not consider that it is a conflict of interest and it is an absurd decision."

After nearly four hours of going through the plans for the easement, a vote was taken on whether to reject the application.

A total of 11 board members rejected the easement with one abstention. There were no votes in favour of the application.

When the voting was confirmed, loud cheers came from the residents in attendance.