BROMSGROVE planners gave the green light to a controversial scheme for a housing estate in Hagley at a packed planning meeting.
Villagers, numbering more than 100, were vocal in their opposition throughout the meeting of the district council’s planning committee, held at the Council House on Monday, (January 7).
Cala Homes proposed to build a 175-home development on a site in Kidderminster Road, owned by the Hagley Hall estate.
But protesters had previously shown their opposition to the proposal at a march last September, and through a 4,000-name petition against the scheme.
Rachel Jenkins, speaking against the application, pleaded with the council to "listen to the people who know the reality of living in Hagley".
She added local amenities - village schools and doctors surgeries - were already at breaking point.
Other arguments raised by opposition speakers concerned the damage to air quality, the safety at the planned new six-arm Hagley roundabout, and whether the scheme was following national and local planning guidelines.
Hagley councillor Chris Scurrell said the unprecedented opposition should not be ignored by committee members.
But three speakers on behalf of Cala Homes said the area had been identified for residential development for 25 years, and offered an appropriate settlement.
They argued the negative impact on air quality would be negligible, considerable work had been carried out on the scheme’s design and layout, and there were no justifiable planning reasons to refuse outline planning permission.
During a lengthy debate of committee members, officers were asked a number of questions concerning the safety of the roundabout and air quality concerns.
Councillor John Tidmarsh said although he sympathised with villagers, it was Hagley’s turn to help meet housing need for the whole of Bromsgrove district.
Councillor Sue Baxter listed a number of concerns she had with the application, while Councillor Rod Laight said his head was spinning after hearing the amount of advice they had been given.
When the vote was taken the application was granted 10 votes to two.
Following the meeting, Darren Humphreys, Cala Homes’ regional managing director, said they had listened and responded to villagers’ concerns.
“The development will bring much needed housing to the area, including affordable homes,” Mr Humphreys said.
“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.”