CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 70 more homes in Tunnel Hill, Upton,  were refused as residents packed a meeting to object.

Kendrick Homes' application for agricultural land off Saffron Grove was unanimously rejected after hour-long talks by Malvern Hills District Council's southern area planning committee amid concerns over "design" and "density" which left one councillor "horrified".

But another, Cllr Martin Allen (Upton), warned there would eventually be more properties built on the site, near a 43-home Kendrick development approved in 2014, and called for developers to return with a better proposal after 50 dwellings had been originally allocated.

After planning officers recommended approval, Cllr Paul Bennett (Pickersleigh) said: "The allocated site for the 50 would have had a distribution which is totally different to this particular development proposed.

"As a result of that, I am horrified at the density of the housing on the side parallel with the river. It is just extraordinarily dense and frankly to anybody it would look like the reason they have done that is to create extremely expensive detached dwellings on the rest of the site.

"There was no way this was ever supposed to be this big a site. I think we should say no to this and ask them to come back with something that actually meets the allocation and has a density that anyone can agree to."

Cllr Allen said: "I conclude overall that the proposal would be likely to cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the local area.

"I'd like to say to the developers to come back and talk to us. We know there is something going to be built there and there's probably going to be 50 houses."

Richard Duckett, representing residents, said: "The residents of Tunnel Hill do not in principle reject the housing on this land.

"Most of the new dwellings are pushed up against the boundary of existing houses, creating a ribbon of high-density housing running through the centre of this new housing estate.

"It is this configuration that has caused the most anger to residents, many of whom purchased their houses from Kendrick Homes in phase one after being assured that any future developments would be sensitive, limited to 50 homes and would not be back-to-back with the new dwellings."

Council officers felt the plans would create less than substantial harm to the area.

Jason Tait, Kendrick's planning consultant, said: "I hope the members will see the quality in the scheme, the extensive green lay-out, the low density and recognise why it's allocated in the main SWDP (South Worcestershire Development Plan) review."