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Shock at scale of housing bid
THE arrival of Gleeson’s proposals for Newland has sparked criticism that the developer is jumping the gun on planning.
Others claim the development is being treated like a “fait accomplit” by council planners.
However, no decisions have yet been made, and no planning application for these proposals has been submitted.
Newland is earmarked in the emerging South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) for 700 of Malvern’s housing allocation, with another 250 at the QinetiQ site in St Andrew’s Road, and 174 on smaller sites.
But the SWDP must still win final backing from Malvern Hills, Worcester City and Wychavon councillors, as well as government approval before it is officially put in place.
Those decisions will be made in November.
Roger Sutton, chairman of Malvern Civic Society, said he was shocked to receive the brochure from Gleeson this week.
“It is completely out of quarter,” he said.
“I think it is extremely presumptuous when it has not even been agreed to build any houses at Newland.”
Newland, Madresfield, and Guarlford parish councils have united to oppose the SWDP proposals.
Coun Eric Jones, of Guarlford, was not surprised at the level of detail in Gleeson’s document.
“It is clear that people have been working on this for some time and treating it as a done deal,” he said.
“It confirms the suspicions that we have voiced that the 700 houses for Newland are being treated as a fait accomplit as far as the SWDP is concerned.”
Coun Jones and his colleagues feel the SWDP council planners have taken the “easy option” by favouring such a large development.
“Malvern is special by anyone’s reckoning, but it is being treated as if it is just anywhere, with a bolt-on, bog-standard development on a huge scale,” he said.
“We are trying to argue for a more organic approach, looking at smaller developments on brownfield sites.
“It is surprising how many you can build up quite quickly.”
The parishes voiced their concerns to Malvern Hills District Council during a recent consultation on the SWDP.
Councillor David Hughes, leader of MHDC, said a great number of responses were received.
“Until we have been able to evaluate the results, we are not in a position to make comments on any details as this would pre-empt the purpose of the consultation,” he said.
“However all responses will be fully assessed and reported to councillors before any formal decisions are made.”