Community concerns raised at public inquiry over Allimore Lane development

COUNCILLORS and community groups voiced their concerns over proposed plans to develop land in Alcester, at a public inquiry last week.

Developers JS Bloor (Tamworth) Ltd & Gallagher Estates, Bloor Homes and Pettifer Developments had submitted two separate planning applications to Stratford District Council for 160 homes to the north of Allimore Lane, and 190 homes to the south.

Both applications were originally rejected, but the developers appealed the decision resulting in a five-day public inquiry last week, where Stratford District Council decided not to defend its decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

The council opted out of its rule six status, which would have given it the right to defend the decision, but also left it incurring costs if it were to lose the planning appeal.

Alcester mayor Mark Cargill was at the inquiry to voice the concerns of residents. He said: “I think we got our day in court. We were able to say what we felt about the scheme and voice our concerns.

“In my opinion we didn’t have a very strong case. The developers had put forward a scheme that ticked all the boxes.”

Councillors attempted to influence the exact nature of the development, to mitigate its impact on the community, and ensure funding for the extra facilities needed to support such a large number of new residents.

At the largest estimate, with the development currently under construction off Kinwarton Farm Road, there could be an additional 475 homes in Alcester over the next few years.

Coun Cargill added: “It was the speed of the development, the density, that concerned us. We’re concerned by things like schools. St Nicholas Primary is packed. There’s spaces in the sixth form but those are going to fill up.

“If you take all these schemes, they’re not big developments on their own, but put them together they’re huge, and it’s not going to be the end of it, not in my opinion.

“I think the character of market towns like Alcester will change. Whether that’s good or bad I don’t know, but it almost certainly will change.”

Evidence from the public inquiry will now be sent to the secretary of state who will make the final decision over whether to allow planning permission.

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