AFTER months of uncertainty, planning permission has been given for the development of 350 new homes in Alcester.
Two outline planning applications to build the homes on sites to the north and south of Allimore Lane were supported by planning officers at Stratford District Council but came under vocal opposition from community groups and Alcester Town Council, and were both rejected by the district council’s planning committee.
Following the latest appeal, the Secretary of State has now decided that planning permission should be granted. A decision which Alcester Mayor Mark Cargill has criticised.
"We did not object to the principle of housing at Allimore Lane, but the scale, density and speed of the development," he said.
Many Alcester residents have had major concerns about the strain the extra homes will put on local provisions and the possibility of an added flooding risk. There were also worries about the noise attenuation measures required by any housing site close to the by-pass but these issues were dismissed in the appeal's findings.
District councillor Susan Juned added: "This decision is highly disappointing for the residents of Alcester. Whilst it's recognised that some housing is required in the town, this proposal is for 350 houses and pre-empts the proper process of consultation with residents that is required by an adopted Local Plan.
"Alcester has suffered three serious flooding incidents since 1998 and I cannot be confident that we have sufficiently robust proposals in place for drainage and flood alleviation to cope with extra housing when it is clear that future climate patterns could be changing."
Councillor Juned attacked the district council's role in the decision, saying that it had let residents down by being so late with its Local Plan and not having a five-year housing supply in place.
"Alcester has been left with no protection and with no ability for residents to decide the future of their town," she said.
Duncan Mackay, of developer Bloor Homes, said: “We are looking forward to moving the site forward into the detailed stages of planning, this will include further consultation with the community to ensure that a quality scheme is delivered for this exciting site.”