THOSE campaigning against the building on land at Yew Tree Hill have slammed the Planning Inspectorate which has overturned a decision by Wychavon District Council to refuse the controversial application.
The proposal, by Barberry Droitwich Ltd , Barberry Droitwich Limited, Persimmon Homes Ltd and Prowting Projects Ltd, was for up to 765 homes, a 200-bed care facility, a mixed use local centre and associated infrastructure on land at Pulley Lane, Newlands Road and Primsland Way, Droitwich, and Land North of Pulley Lane and Newland Lane, Newland. The appeal by the developers was held earlier this year and the result was announced on Thursday (July 3).
Simon Sparrow from SOGOS (Save Our Green Open Spaces) said: “It’s not the news we wanted and we are extremely disappointed by the decision.
“We had a justifiable case – saving the countryside in any area is justifiable because once it is gone, we cannot get it back.”
He added SOGOS would be meeting to discuss what happens now and said the developers should not think the group was just going to go away.
Paul Middlebrough, leader of Wychavon District Council, said he was extremely dismayed by the decision and it appeared the Secretary of State had very little regard to the voices of the local communities.
“The council, councillors, the town and parish councils and local residents all put forward arguments against these very large developments, which are in locations outside the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).
“Large scale developments are being imposed on our towns and villages in the district and this is taking place in many locations where the council would not normally approve development, especially where there are strong environmental or technical reasons against such development.
“The council, councillors, the town and parish councils and local residents all put forward arguments against these very large developments, which are in locations outside the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).”
He added the authority was currently going through the extensive detail of the decision notices and looking at the implications.
“Importantly, since the inquiries took place, the Inspector who is determining the SWDP has set out the housing requirement very clearly and the council has worked hard to provide a five-year housing supply for the district.
“Over the last year over 850 housing units were approved by the council in sustainable locations in the district, but these applications are in inappropriate locations.
“These unwelcome decisions will not affect our resolve to refuse poor development.”
MP for Mid Worcestershire Sir Peter Luff said he was appalled at the decision as he felt Wychavon District Council’s original and decision to reject the application was correct.
“Both residents and the council have fought hard against these proposals and this will be a bitterly disappointing day for many.
“I condemn the opportunism of developers who have wickedly exploited the current position in Wychavon before the adoption of the South Worcestershire Development Plan.
“We need more houses locally, but they should be built where locally elected councillors decide after a process of local consultation, not at the whim of developers.
“Now Wychavon will be left to pick up a bill for many thousands of pounds of legal costs for daring to stand up for its people.
“The sickening drumbeat of a legalistic process has again drowned out the voice of democracy.”
A spokesperson for Barberry Droitwich Ltd said he was pleased with the decision but, unfortunately there were no winners as Wychavon had been awarded partial costs and Worcestershire County Council had lost out on £750,000 which had been offered as part of a 106 agreement when the original application was lodged in May 2013.
He concluded by saying the company would be working with Wychavon officers on detailed proposals so development could proceed as quickly as possible.