TEMPERS were frayed at a public meeting about the issues surrounding Droitwich’s controversial Yew Tree Hill development.
More than 100 people packed out the Church of the Sacred Heart last night at the event which was also attended by councillors and representatives from Worcestershire County Council’s Highways Department and Wychavon’s managing director Jack Hegarty.
The Yew Tree Hill development, on land north of Pulley Lane and Newland Lane, will include up to 765 homes, a 200-bed care home and a mixed-use local centre.
The housing has been split between three developers – Persimmon Homes, Redrow Homes and Taylor Wimpey – all of which refused to attend the meeting.
Concerns were raised about the highways issues – the main reason for the meeting – as work has been going on and causing disruption for a number of weeks and is set to continue until the end of the year.
Pulley Lane had been widened to 5.5metres, although that was questioned at the meeting with pleas made for Highways officers to check it had been extended to the whole amount by physically measuring it.
Another resident called for Pulley Lane to be reduced to 30mph as there were no footpaths or white lines and it was a popular route used by walkers, runners and cyclists.
“Someone is going to be killed if nothing is done,” he added.
Other fears raised included the impact on the village of Tibberton which was being ‘used as a rat run’ by motorists wanting to avoid roadworks and people, including children journeying to and from school, were being put at risk by speeding drivers.
A representative from Salwarpe Village Hall claimed losses of £2,000 had already been incurred since work had started and there were fears about access to this year’s Salwarpe Village Fete which could cost the community even more.
People were also present who had bought properties but could not move in because the developers had reached their allocation on the number of homes they were allowed to have occupied under the ‘Tomlin Order’. The legislation in this case restricts the housebuilders from the number of properties it can have occupied before infrastructure is put in place.
Dust from building had made the lives of some people living near the development a misery and hedgerows along the roads had also fallen victim to roadworks. But it was stated on the latter that developers would – in line with conditions – be ‘landscaping’ areas either side of the roads where improvements had been implemented and greenery had been lost.
Angry questions were levelled at the panel with one saying the community already living there, those hoping to move in and the council had all been ‘treated with contempt’ by the developers.
“They do not care for the community they are destroying and are not interested in being part of that community,” he added.
Droitwich South East councillors Richard Morris and John Grady hosted the event.
Coun Morris told The Standard afterwards: “It was better to have this meeting than not have it.
“We experienced people’s frustrations a lot on the doorstep about this development during the election campaign and we said then it was important to get people together to talk about the issues.”
He added at first no-one wanted the development, then when the scheme was given the green light by the Secretary of State people wanted strict conditions placed upon it which the developers had failed to comply with anyway and now those hoping to move into the homes were having problems because of the restrictions which needed to be placed on the development.
“It’s a vicious triangle,” he added.
Coun Tony Miller admitted the developers could have handled it much better than they had.
“They have let residents down,” he added.
Coun Morris will now take away the points made at the meeting and, after consulting with the developers and the councils, email a ‘newsletter’ update on the issues raised to those who submitted their email addresses at the start of the evening.
* WHAT have been your experiences of the Yew Tree Hill development and the issues which surrounding it? Maybe you live nearby and have encountered extra traffic or dust? Maybe you are being delayed on a daily basis by the roadworks? Or maybe you are waiting to move into one of the homes but are unable to? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org