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Further talks held on controversial Whitford homes application
3:40pm Saturday 14th June 2014 in News
FURTHER talks have been held on a controversial application to build hundreds of homes in Whitford.
The application, to build 490 homes on land off Whitford Road from Catesby Estates Ltd and Miller Homes Ltd, went before Bromsgrove District Council's planning committee meeting in April.
Following a lengthy debate on the application, in front of a packed public gallery, a motion was voted through to defer the item for further meetings to discuss traffic concerns.
The meetings, between residents group Whitford Vale Voice (WVV) and the developers, have now been held and it was agreed a specific contribution for the Millfields area will be included as part of the developer's financial contributions.
After the deferral WVV members surveyed residents and investigated road issues.
The group calculated that, due to the absence of pavements, 41 per cent of the total length of the streets in Millfields is road space shared between pedestrians and other road users.
Millfield and Brook Road, used as school routes, were highlighted as problem areas.
Residents were also concerned about the reductions in road width near Millfields First School, caused by parked vehicles.
Pedestrian movements at peak hours were observed with a total of 838 pedestrians counted - 540 unaccompanied children.
In Brook Road, the number of children without adults walking in the road was 188 - more than 80 per cent of the pedestrian traffic.
WVV's transport spokesperson, John Gerner, said: “It is quite clear that the issues in Millfields are set to get worse if the committee gives the go ahead.
"Highways officers need to get their heads out of the sand and see the reality for people living in our area.”
Ward councillor Luke Mallett added: “The potential new offer extracted from the developers for funds to improve footpaths, road safety and to consider schemes such as a 20 mph zone in Millfields, illustrate that previous claims the proposals will not impact the area are simply not true.
“It is deeply troubling that yet again we have clear evidence of significant and dangerous local impacts and yet the Highways Authority appears to be saying ‘there’s not a problem’."
A spokesperson for Catesby Estates and Miller Homes said: “Our outline application is accompanied by a full transportation assessment, the methodology of which was approved by the Highway Authority culminating in them raising no objection to the scheme.
"As recognised in the committee report, the assessment follows best practice and sets out appropriate mitigation measures to deal with traffic arising from the scheme including significant financial contributions to improve the highway network on alternative routes to Whitford Road.
“Whilst we believe this demonstrates there is no issue in relation to transportation, we met with representatives from WVV and agreed a specific contribution for the Millfields area as part of our financial contributions. We understand this has been accepted by the county council and it is now a matter for residents and the council, to agree how it will be utilised."
A Worcestershire County Council spokesman said: "The applicant has offered additional contributions which the council welcomes, to promote walking and cycling between the application site and Millfields school.
"Additionally a contribution has been offered in the event of the travel plan having not succeeded after a 10 year review to undertake additional measures to promote sustainable transport."
• The application is being determined at the next meeting of planning committee, being held at the Council House, Burcot Lane, from 6pm on Monday, June 30.
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