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Hagley protesters say council's housing strategy is 'flawed'
12:00pm Sunday 14th October 2012 in News
A ROW has erupted between protesters against a new Hagley estate, and Bromsgrove District Council over the authority’s housing strategy.
In September, a 500-strong march of villagers stormed Lord Cobham’s estate to protest against plans to build a new Hagley housing development.
Developer Cala Homes is behind the application to build the 175 homes between Stourbridge Road and Kidderminster Road, and its managing director Darren Humphreys has argued the development could provide significant benefits for Hagley.
Ahead of the application being determined by the council's planning committee, protesters have now turned their attentions to the authority.
The Hagley Resident’s Action Group (HRAG) is criticising the council for producing a fatally flawed core strategy.
The group says the strategy targets the district’s housing needs on to Hagley, as well as other district villages.
Villagers first criticised the strategy during the consultation process on the document in early 2011.
HRAG say the council ignored hundreds of objections from villagers at that stage, effectively giving the green light for developers to submit applications - including Cala Homes’ proposal.
Villagers say they fear more applications for developments, particularly on Lord Cobham’s 350 acre estate.
HRAG member Beryl Syrotiuk said: "There are a range of factors relating to the proposed planning application which require serious consideration.
“These have been embedded within a number of complex planning documents, resulting in a lack of visibility and openness for residents.
“We had to dig deep into council bureaucracy and plough through reams of planning jargon before arriving at an understanding of the situation.”
Councillor Kit Taylor, Bromsgrove District Council's portfolio holder for the core strategy, said the council did not consider its plan flawed.
“The council appreciates generally people don't want major new housing developments near where they live,” he said.
“Residents from all over the district have been objecting to proposed housing sites.
“However the council is required to find land for new housing.
“We have provided responses to all the objections to the core strategy, which are publicly available.
“In order to respond accurately, in some instances technical language and jargon has been used.
“The public consultation period was extended to allow for as many people as possible to be involved.
“As part of this process, we asked Hagley Parish Council if they would like us to hold an exhibition in order to explain the strategy to the Hagley residents.
“They did not respond.”
He added the soundness of the plan was to be tested by an independent inspector and the strategy, still in draft, would be formally consulted on again next year.