THINK again! That was the message to developers after plans to build more than 2,500 homes on land to the west of Webheath were put on hold due to concerns over access to the site.
Redditch planners deferred a decision on the outline plans after hearing an initial tranche of 200 homes which would pump prime the rest of the development would be built off Foxlydiate Lane.
Foxlydiate Lane is currently a narrow country road and planning committee chair Councillor Michael Chalk (Con, Central) said he feared chaos as the developers moved in.
“I thought about bulldozers and low loaders and tried to imagine one of those trying to get up Foxlydiate Lane,” he said.
“Members felt that the council officers needed to go back to the developers to decide on an alternative route.”
Suggestions included reducing the number of initial homes to be built to ease the disruption to seeking funds so the developers could work from the planned main site entrance off Birchfield Road.
Coun Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) said: “Foxlydiate Lane is simply unsuitable and we need to see as much infrastructure put in as possible before they start building the houses to minimise the disruption to local residents.”Only a sliver of this development is in Redditch, 98 per cent is in Bromsgrove district but the two access points to the site are in Redditch.”
The outline plans for the development were approved by Bromsgrove planners last month in a meeting branded ‘a shambles’ by onlookers due to the hurried nature that councillors rushed the decision through.
This was despite a consultation on Bromsgrove’s future housing needs still not being completed.
The development had been given the green light by government inspector Michael Hetherington two years ago, after a bitter battle with local residents in Webheath, to meet Redditch’s housing needs as part of its ‘Local Plan 4’.
But since then the borough’s housing requirements has been virtually halved, from 337 houses per annum to 181, calling into question the entire development.
The development could take ten to 15 years to complete but Redditch will receive none of the council tax or New Homes Bonus, which will go to Bromsgrove, but it will get in the region of £19million in enhancement money for local roads and a new refuse collection lorry for the site, worth £88,000.
Coun Chalk said: We know this development is going to go ahead and people have to understand that ultimately Foxlydiate Lane will become an estate road, but we made out decision I hope for the benefit of local residents and the town.”
The development starts at Foxlydiate lane before edging between Pumphouse Lane and Spring Brook, it would then run between Cur Lane and the Bromsgrove Highway west towards Bromsgrove.
To see the plans key in 2016/077/OUT on https://www.redditchbc.gov.uk/