By Ian Dipple 03/08 Updated: 03/08 10:09
CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to fight 'to the bitter end' proposals to build up to 200 homes on a controversial site in Webheath.
Barratt Homes and Taylor Wimpey want to build the development on part of the Webheath ADR (Area of Development Restraint) which stretches north in the direction of Church Road and past Pumphouse Lane to the south.
The proposal also includes a community building or shop on the site as well as a play area and upgrades to the road network, cycle and path links and the creation of a balancing pond to ease fears about flooding.
About 40 per cent of the homes will be affordable and the £19.55million development will take four years to build.
The land had previously been earmarked for housing by Redditch Borough Council but was not included in the first draft of the Core Strategy, which sets out where new houses should be built between now and 2026, as it was not believed the site was viable. But further work by Severn Trent and the Highways Authority has indicated development may now be possible.
David Rose, chairman of the Webheath Action Group, said some residents were willing to accept a smaller development of up to 50 houses but the plans for the site were unsustainable. Almost 1,300 people have signed a petition against the plans.
"We will not stand idly by and allow this development to go ahead. We will fight it vehemently to the bitter end."
He questioned whether the existing road network and sewerage system would cope, as well as highlighting the lack of public transport in the area and increased risk of flooding. He also cast doubt on a report examining traffic movements in the area for ignoring Blackstitch Lane, which he said was an accident blackspot.
County councillors for the area have also expressed their disappointment at the application. Coun Terry Spencer said the developers seemed hellbent on 'destroying the most beautiful natural fabric of Redditch' while Coun David Thain added the proposals were being imposed on an area without the infrastructure or drainage capability to cope.
In their submission to the council's planning department, the developers say they had previously promoted the ADR as a whole but decided to opt for a smaller site as they believed it was more deliverable.
They added they would subsidise a new bus service between Webheath and the town centre, providing access along Church Road where there are no links previously, and each new household would get two free bus passes to use for three months. They acknowledged there is congestion in the area but mainly around Downsell Road at school pick-up and drop-off times and it would be unlikely the development would have an impact. It will also create new jobs and boost the economy.
The application can be viewed online at www.redditchbc.gov.uk/planning and typing in the reference number 2012/207/OUT or at the Town Hall on request. Contact the council’s planning services on 01527 534064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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