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By Carl Jackson Wednesday 05 December 2012 Updated: 07/12 00:17
CONTROVERSIAL plans to develop two garage sites into homes have been given the green light by Bromsgrove District Council.
The proposals, submitted by Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT), involve building three affordable rent properties on land at Breakback Road, Whitford, and three more at a similar plot in York Close, Sidemoor.
Both were deferred at the council's planning meeting in September for further consultation and to obtain extra information, but the two applications were approved on Monday (December 3).
Ward councillors Luke Mallett (Whitford) and Chris Bloore (Sidemoor) backed residents' objections towards the developments and spoke on behalf of them at the meeting.
Large concerns had been raised about the impact on quality of life, and the numbers of parked vehicles which would be displaced on to already overcrowded roads.
Jitedra Desai, of Breakback Road, said an ambulance which had come to take him to hospital was forced to reverse out of the road dangerously because of limited space to manoeuvre.
He claimed the decision was a matter of life and death as it would add vital minutes to emergency services trying to get in and out of the neighbourhood.
The view was shared by Louise Brookes of York Close who urged committee members to vote against the council officers' report which recommended the application be approved.
"There is ample space already designated that BDHT could build in.
"You can't put a price on the quality of life which the residents expect," added Ms Brookes.
She has also vowed to take legal action against BDHT's plan which will be at the back of her home.
Mike Brown, chief executive for BDHT, launched a stern defence of the organisation's proposals and warned the demand for housing in the district was at breaking point.
"All of the planning requirements have been met.
"We all know the situation with the Government and the economy.
"32 families are in temporary housing, which is at capacity. Our homeless hostels are full.
"From now on, if someone walks in to our office we will have no option but to put them in bed and breakfasts at the cost of the council," he added.
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