Further talks held on controversial Whitford homes application

First published 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.

Comments (1)

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2:52pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Iain Leav says...

Currently trafic backs up the entire legnth of Fox Lane and Whitford Road from Rock Hill to the Kidderminster road for over an hour each morning and for a couple of hours in the evening. Largely this is traffic trying to get through the town avoiding the traffic jam of the town centre. Fox lane itself is quite dangerous to walk down with cars parked on both sides of the pavements and school childern having to negotiate these vehicles and more standing in traffic ques on the road.

I'm yet to read anything about how this is proposed to be addressed.

So how are people going to leave their proposed new houses on this development, theres no bus service to the area, there are no facilities planned there, so there will be 900 or so cars from these 490 houses instantly added to this already bad situation

This is just on an average day, last week when there were road works in the town centre the traffic was queing for the whole day along the road, it took me over 40 minutes to drive through at 2pm.

Closing the road off, theres an idea, and what, force all the traffic to pass through the town centre? even traffic only wanting to join the Kidderminster Road? That sounds like a great solution for increasing the gridlock and polution in the town centre.

Its worrying that despite the lack of answers there is talk of the developers money already being reported in various projects in the town as well as proposed future 'contributions' in ten years time - if a consultation rules this a mistake.

What good is any contribution to the people who have to live in the mess created?

Traffic aside the land looks woefully inaqaquite for such a number of houses proposed, the roar from the M5 can be heard as is from the bottom of Sanders Park boardering the development as is and without those green feilds to absorb rainwater I imagine the park iteself witll become more and more waterloged.

I'm sure if you tried to look for more unsuitable location for a new development around Bromsgrove you could find one, but I can't think of anywhere right now.
Currently trafic backs up the entire legnth of Fox Lane and Whitford Road from Rock Hill to the Kidderminster road for over an hour each morning and for a couple of hours in the evening. Largely this is traffic trying to get through the town avoiding the traffic jam of the town centre. Fox lane itself is quite dangerous to walk down with cars parked on both sides of the pavements and school childern having to negotiate these vehicles and more standing in traffic ques on the road. I'm yet to read anything about how this is proposed to be addressed. So how are people going to leave their proposed new houses on this development, theres no bus service to the area, there are no facilities planned there, so there will be 900 or so cars from these 490 houses instantly added to this already bad situation This is just on an average day, last week when there were road works in the town centre the traffic was queing for the whole day along the road, it took me over 40 minutes to drive through at 2pm. Closing the road off, theres an idea, and what, force all the traffic to pass through the town centre? even traffic only wanting to join the Kidderminster Road? That sounds like a great solution for increasing the gridlock and polution in the town centre. Its worrying that despite the lack of answers there is talk of the developers money already being reported in various projects in the town as well as proposed future 'contributions' in ten years time - if a consultation rules this a mistake. What good is any contribution to the people who have to live in the mess created? Traffic aside the land looks woefully inaqaquite for such a number of houses proposed, the roar from the M5 can be heard as is from the bottom of Sanders Park boardering the development as is and without those green feilds to absorb rainwater I imagine the park iteself witll become more and more waterloged. I'm sure if you tried to look for more unsuitable location for a new development around Bromsgrove you could find one, but I can't think of anywhere right now. Iain Leav
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