PLANS for 14 new homes in Malvern have been met with criticism by nearby residents, but the local authority has allayed their fears.

Developers want to build the homes in an area of open space in Chase Road and have applied for a "screening option".

This is generally regarded as the first step towards a full application.

Screening opinions have to be carried out on major projects to make sure the work would not have a significant effect on the environment, which if it did, would require a full environmental impact assessment.

A large number of responses have been submitted by residents in opposition to the plans, but Malvern Hills District Council planning officer Ciaran Power sent an email to residents reassuring them that the plans were not formalised yet.

He said: "Thank you for your comments in respect of the above case.

"Whilst I fully appreciate the strong feelings and concerns about the potential development of the site, there seems to have been some confusion locally.

"For avoidance of doubt, I would like to point out that, this case is not a planning application.

"It is a precursor to an applicant or agent submitting a formal planning application.

"The purpose of the current case is to ascertain what level of information an applicant needs to submit with any subsequent planning application.

"The Council are not required to, nor do we, seek comments from local residents at this stage as the request for a screening opinion relates to procedural process only and not consideration of the planning merits (or otherwise) of the case.

"Please rest assured that if and when a formal planning application is submitted, we will carry out the normal notification and allow an appropriate amount of time for you to provide comments should you wish."

One Chase Road resident objected to the plans on the grounds of its visual impact and a lack of public transport services.

The response said: "The views to and from the hills will be greatly impacted, the field is not in the development plan for South Worcestershire and is in the conservation area.

"The land lies on the green strip which separates Malvern Wells and Upper Welland, and the hamlet of Upper Welland has no facilities or buses and could not service this inappropriate housing."

Another response queried why Chase Road was mentioned in the application, saying: "The address for the application is misleading.

"The proposed development is a site to the north of Upper Welland Road, and the applicant is clear that vehicular and pedestrian access would be from Upper Welland Road.

"Chase Road, used in the application title, does not adjoin the site nor is any access from Chase Road proposed.

"The address on the MHDC planning web-site should be amended to change "Chase Road" to "Upper Welland Road".

"This will enable members of the public to find the application more easily."

The site forms a parcel of land to the north of Upper Welland Road set just outside, but adjacent to the development boundary of Upper Welland.

Plans for the development say it will mainly consist of two-storey dwellings.

Two historic applications have been made near the site, with a plan for 95 homes to the south being rejected in 2015 and a plan for 23 homes being withdrawn in the same year.

The application can be viewed in full on