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By Tristan Harris Monday 07 January 2013 Updated: 10/01 13:04
MEMBERS of Bromsgrove District Council's planning committee came under fire from those living in Hagley after controversial plans for 175 homes in the village were given the go ahead.
The application by CALA Homes was determined in a packed council chamber after more than an hour and a half and after the committee had heard from seven speakers.
Despite the objections, the officers recommended the outline proposal for approval and it went through with ten votes for and two against in front of a very vociferous public gallery containing more than 100 residents and local councillors.
Among the objections highlighted by residents were the impact the development would have on air quality, the increased amount of traffic, road safety issues at what would become a six-exit roundabout and the 'inadequate' and 'already over-subscribed' amenities Hagley had, including education provision and places at doctors' surgeries.
The developers claimed to have addressed all those issues and officers, both in their report and on the night, claimed there was no justifiable planning reason to turn the application down.
Rachel Jenkins, who spoke on the night, labelled the decision 'shocking' and said throughout the planning process, residents did not feel they had been listened to.
Coun Steven Colella, who also spoke up against the proposals, said he was extremely disappointed and criticised the way the site had been dealt with in a 'piecemeal' way.
He added the site should have been considered as a whole, rather than as a number of different applications, and that way, it could be decided where was best to put the housing and where was best to put amenities.
"All that the community has gained from this development is a bus shelter and cycle racks.
"And, if there was an application that should have been turned down on highways issues, this was it," he said.
He concluded by saying Hagley Parish Council had requested a judicial review and that request would be considered in the coming days.
Darren Humphreys, regional managing director for CALA Homes Midlands, welcomed the planning committee's decision and said the development would bring some much-needed housing to the area, including affordable homes.
“We do appreciate the concerns of some local residents about the impact of the development in the area and we have listened and responded to those concerns during the period of public consultation.
“We will continue to engage with the local community as we put together the detail of the scheme and are planning a series of workshops to enable local people and parish councillors the opportunity to have their say on the kind of development they would like to see moving forward.”
He added the company was more than happy to answer any specific questions residents had and a dedicated e-mail address - email@example.com - had been set up for them to be sent to.
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