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Affordable homes uproar

Posted on October 30 2009 at 9:27:35

A PLANNED affordable homes development in Alvechurch led to angry scenes at the October parish council meeting.
One councillor later resigned, saying he felt the views of residents were not being taken into account.

The development of 28 two and three-bedroom homes is proposed in a new application for the Birmingham Road site on Green Belt beside the M42 on the north side of the village.

A previous application, which had been publicised in a public consultation at the Village Hall a year ago, was withdrawn before Bromsgrove planning committee considered it. The new application by Bromsgrove District Housing Trust is expected to go before the planning committee early in the new year.

Parish councillors were told by one resident: “It is an outrageous scheme. It is unsightly and the design of the properties look like they belong in Aston or Lozells, not at the gateway to the village. It seems the district council is bent on destroying the character of the village. They are seeking to turn
this into a low-rent area.”

He added: “I fear this is a done deal because the district council is under pressure to get these developments through.”

He asked why Alvechurch parish was the main focus of affordable homes applications. “What about sites in Barnt Green, or Blackwell or Rowney Green?
“You can devalue a village – it segregates communities and ghettoises areas.”

Coun Debbie Brown sympathised with the residents: “I am from Hopwood and we took it [the Ash Lane de- velopment] all the way to Parliament.

“The houses going up there now are cheap and we are living in a nightmare. You have my sympathy.” 

Coun Jean luck, who is on Bromsgrove’s planning committee, emphasised: “It is not a done deal”. She told residents they needed to write to the planning department giving details of their objections to the plans.

Coun Peter McHugh, who had encouraged the residents to make their views known at the meeting, said:

“There is absolutely no awareness of this plan in the village. People may be aware of the previous application, but not the submission of the current
application.”

He asked the parish council to reverse their support for the plans, agreed at the September meeting. But his motion was defeated by six votes
to three.

Parish chairman John Cypher said: “That’s the end of it as far as the parish council is concerned, by a clear majority of the parish council.”
Coun McHugh resigned from the council the following day.

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