By Carl Jackson Friday 13 September 2013 Updated: 13/09 16:12
PROPOSALS to build 190 homes on the second part of the Allimore Lane site in Alcester have been thrown out by councillors but there are still fears it will be approved on appeal.
The application was rejected by members of Stratford District Council’s West Area Planning Committee on the grounds the negative impact of the development would outweigh any benefits and permanently alter the town’s character.
Councillors also labelled the proposal unsustainable claiming new residents would be forced to commute out of the town due to limited employment opportunities in the area.
Poor access to medical centres and shops as well as the loss of a valuable plot of open space were also cited as reasons for refusing the plans.
The decision comes after a separate application for 160 homes on the north part of the land was refused by the council in May for similar reasons.
Coun Daren Pemberton, member of the planning committee, said both sets of proposals prejudiced the council’s emerging Core Strategy which states around 300 homes should be built on the entire land by 2028.
The plans were vigorously opposed by Alcester Town Council, district council ward members and residents with more than 100 letters of objection submitted.
Yet council officers had recommended the application be approved subject to numerous conditions including the developers investing around £180,000 in schools as well as making a contribution of more than £200,000 to the NHS.
Lennox Cumberbatch, Alcester Town councillor, said: “I am surprised planning teams recommended this application be granted. The expression ‘it will do’ springs to mind.”
But Gregg Mitchell, representing developers Gallagher Estates, Pettifer and Bloor Homes, said granting approval was the only ‘reasonable course of action’ and argued the council’s own officers had given a clear and robust statement in favour of the plans on three separate occasions.
He declined to comment after the decision was made, but it is believed the developers will appeal as they have done for the northern part of the site.
Coun George Matheou, vice-chair of the planning committee, feared the latest refusal decision would be subsequently overturned, meaning the council would lose power to impose conditions as well as having to pay hearing costs.
But Coun Pemberton added: “We are faced with what we are faced with, I am confident we have got good sound planning reasons. It’s our own Core Strategy which we are defending here.
“Whether there is an appeal or not is not for this committee to consider.”
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