By Ian Dipple Friday 06 September 2013 Updated: 06/09 10:54
A KEY planning document has been backed by town councillors despite claims it was not delivering a good enough deal for Alcester.
Stratford District Council's Draft Core Strategy sets out plans to build 9,500 homes by 2028 with Alcester's share 425 - more than the 300 stated in a previous version of the document.
The majority would be built on the two sites at Allimore Lane. Plans to build 160 homes on the northern part of it have already been rejected, but is being appealed, and proposals to build another 190 on the southern section are due to be discussed at a planning committee meeting on Monday (September 9).
The core strategy is key as it sets out the framework by which development can take place. The district's current strategy is out of date which means existing planning policies have little weight and can be overruled by the Government's National Planning Policy Framework which states sustainable development should be approved, making it harder to resist planning applications.
It has been approved by the district council but still needs to go to the planning inspectorate for further examination before being officially adopted.
But Andy Mann, from the Eclipse Road Residents Group fighting the plans, said he felt many of the policies in the document had been watered down and called on them to insist to the district council the housing numbers on the Allimore Lane site were limited to 165 and 135 respectively as set out in the strategy, the phasing of development was tightly controlled and open space was provided on and not off site.
"If we as a community don't make a loud noise to Stratford District Council about such issues they will get ignored at application stage, developers will get their way and Alcester will be the loser," he told a town council meeting on Tuesday (September 3).
Coun Susan Juned, who was present as she represents Alcester on the district council, also expressed her disappointment a number of points she had made during consultation on the document, including calls for more play areas and appropriate funding to ensure infrastructure could cope with the level of building, were ignored.
"I wait to be convinced the majority of houses will be affordable for young people in the town."
Coun Nina Knapman, who abstained from the vote, added: "There are too many holes, too many pitfalls."
But Alcester Town Council agreed to back the strategy in principle after hearing from Coun Clive Neal-Sturgess, a member of the council's planning committee, who said it would help strengthen their opposition to the Allimore Lane (South) application.
Coun Chris Gough added rejecting the core strategy was not an option but backing it in principle would not mean they could not ask for changes at a later date.
"We have to face planning applications at the moment without a core strategy, without any teeth," he said.
"This is the right option for the town at this time.
"There really isn't an alternative."
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