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By Carl Jackson Saturday 05 January 2013 Updated: 08/01 11:01
BROMSGROVE District Council has announced it will be extending the public chamber to maximum capacity when the decision is taken on the controversial housing development for Hagley on Monday (January 7).
The application for 175 homes on land at Kidderminster Road is set to be determined at the first planning committee meeting of 2013.
Temporary walls will be removed in the main chamber at Burcot Lane, and extra seating will be provided with room for up to 125 members of the public to attend.
A council spokesperson declared officers would operate a one-in-one-out system if the main hall reached full capacity on the night.
More than 3,000 residents have signed a petition against the proposal and more than 1,200 people have officially objected to the plans on the council's online planning pages.
Dozens of protesters turned up at the last planning committee meeting in December only to be turned away by council staff because the item had been removed from the agenda, following an 11th hour legal challenge from Hagley Parish Council.
Claire Felton, head of legal and democratic services at Bromsgrove District Council, said: "We’ve done everything we can to push the capacity of our public meeting rooms to their absolute legal limit for this meeting, in case there is a high turnout.
"Should more people come on the night than can fit in the room, please understand the restrictions that are placed on us.
"We are legally responsible for ensuring people are safe on our premises and we will follow the law, having to turn anyone away is the last thing we would want to do."
The Hagley application is the first main item on the agenda on Monday, with 90 minutes allocated for a discussion due to its high interest.
With the meeting starting at 6pm, anyone attending in relation to other applications set to be discussed on the night has been advised to come to Burcot Lane just before 7.30pm.
For anyone who is unable to attend the meeting, minutes will be published at www.bromsgrove.gov.uk afterwards.
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