PARISH councillors in Blakedown are concerned that roads surrounding their little country railway station will become gridlocked following plans to expand parking facilities.

Worcestershire County Council and Wyre Forest District Council plan to develop a new Blakedown hub, introducing new car parking and housing, which is set to be built on greenbelt land off Station Drive.

The proposals feature as part of the district council’s emerging Local Plan and also feature in the county council's Local Transport Plan 4 and the Worcestershire Rail Investment Strategy.

However, Churchill and Blakedown Parish councillors have spoken out against the plans, which they fear will damage the rural village by causing greater traffic congestion.

Long-serving Blakedown councillor Jim Long says the traffic is currently "nose to tail" surrounding the railway station and that expansion will make matters worse.

The 67-year-old said: "This parking expansion scheme is wrong-headed and ill planned.

"It is all a complete mess, which will permanently damage the village of Blakedown and not advance traffic and transport issues one bit.

The parish council chairman Richard Benney, aged 77, said: "It's not been thought out at all, it seems to have just been steam rolled in."

Cllr Benney also says that the plans go against the Blakedown neighbourhood plan.

The two have voiced support for a smaller proposed car park at Callows Yard, but not development on the greenbelt land.

There are also concerns that the plans will exacerbate current congestion in the neighbouring area of Hagley, which has been highlighted by Steve Colella, Bromsgrove district councillor for Hagley West.

He said: "Blakedown is a small rural village and would be unable to cope with the additional planned parking on what is at the moment is valuable greenbelt land.

"Hagley already suffers from transient traffic. I don't believe the plan has been thought through properly."

Worcestershire County Councillor Ken Pollock said: “Unlike Kidderminster and Hagley Stations, which are located within built up urban settings, Blakedown station is ideally situated to be considered for expansion.

“Residents have previously had issues with on street parking in the Blakedown Station area, so improvements to the station have provided a welcome opportunity to address this with a new car park, that will help ensure local traffic can flow more freely.”

Wyre Forest District Councillor Fran Oborski said: “We are grateful for the comments received from local residents during our Local Plan consultation which closed on Monday October 14.

"We are due to sign off the formal submission of the draft local plan in February 2020 which will then be sent to the Secretary of State who will then appoint a Planning Inspector to hold an examination to test the ‘soundness’ of the Plan.

"Once the planning inspector has reviewed our submission, there will be a timetable set for our Local Plan to be heard at a public examination where residents who selected they want to appear when they submitted their comments on the Local Plan can have their say.”