THE APPEAL against a controversial housing development for 490 homes on Whitford Road has been thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate.
The decision was taken following the four-day hearing in June after Bromsgrove District Council rejected the application for the properties, a shop and new road access.
In his report, the Inspector said the development would provide a substantial amount of housing and help meet Bromsgrove’s housing needs but, he added, it would also have a severe impact on traffic congestion and highway safety.
And he said the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) – which provides guidance for local authorities when making planning decisions – did not support schemes which had severe traffic impacts.
Among the roads he was concerned about were Whitford Road, Fox Lane and the Kidderminster Road which he said, evidence showed, were already congested at peak times and, with other proposed developments in Bromsgrove, would be moreso in 2020.
The Inspector said the proposed contributions of just under £219,000 to improve public transport links and the £270,000 to enhance walking and cycling routes to the town centre would be beneficial to current and future residents.
But, he added, there was no guarantee they would have a significant effect on cutting the number of car trips being made, adding those measures could not be relied upon to reduce traffic.
He also criticised proposals to redirect traffic from Whitford Road, through the housing development, saying it would ‘not be ideal’ and would have a negative effect on those living in what was a residential area.
The result has been welcomed by Whitford Vale Voice (WVV) which has tirelessly campaigned against the large development for more than two years.
Chairman Roy Dixon said the residents were delighted by the Inspector’s decision.
“WVV are particularly pleased many of his observations concerning traffic have mirrored our research of the parlous condition of highway capacity in and around the town.
“To be blunt, the vast majority of WVV members wish that both Bromsgrove District Council and Worcestershire Highways would get off their corporate backsides, put aside political differences, and search for solutions that would produce a traffic infrastructure that town’s enviable position at the hub of two national motorways deserves.”
Coun Luke Mallett, who also fought hard for the residents, said the Inspector had reached the right decision.
“His detailed judgement entirely supports the arguments the community and Whitford Vale Voice have been making for well over two years.”
The Standard contacted the developers, but no one was available for comment at the time of The Standard going to press. For more on the appeal, turn to page three.