A PETITION calling for Bromsgrove to get a Western Relief Road is up to almost 4,000 signatures of its 5,000 target.
It comes just days after the district council’s planning committee said it would be minded to vote in favour of the controversial Perryfields development if it was asked to. The application is currently with the Planning Inspectorate after developer Taylor Wimpey appealed a previous refusal.
The appeal is due to be heard next month and campaigners, including Whitford Vale Voice, Coun Luke Mallett and the Bromsgrove Society are urging as many people as possible to show their opposition to the sizeable development without the sufficient infrastructure in place.
The application by Taylor Wimpey will see 1,300 properties, a 200-bed extra care home, five hectares of employment land and a mixed use centre of shops and community facilities created. Of the properties, 390 – 30 per cent – will be affordable homes, including shared ownership, rental and bungalows. There will also be ten units for self-build properties.
Because extra education provision will be needed, a new first school will be built at a cost of £2.5million and more than £900,000 will go to South Bromsgrove High School to increase secondary school capacity.
There will also be public open space, recreation areas, sports pitches and a pavilion.
After last Tuesday’s meeting Coun Luke Mallett, the County Councillor for the West of Bromsgrove, who has opposed the proposals for over a decade, said: “Last night’s meeting was a very sorry chapter in this saga. It was a bad day for Bromsgrove, and a bad day for our community.
“The vote was split on party lines with every Conservative councillor voting for the development along with the Independent councillor for Sidemoor.
“Only two of those voting for the proposal even live in Bromsgrove.”
“It is no wonder that local residents have no confidence in the planning system or in highways.
“I understand that several complaints have already been raised with the Council about the conduct of members during the meeting.”
Campaigners accept the need for housing in Bromsgrove but not at that site or Whitford Road without the relief road which they believe should be part of the plans.
Coun Mallett added: “Concerns were raised about the plans to stop up the Perryfields Rd and divert the traffic through the town centre.
“It was apparent that the developers had no idea about the layout of our town suggesting that traffic would avoid the town centre due to the A38 – not realising that the only route to the A38 was through the town centre.”
“The worries of residents in areas like Sidemoor, Catshill, All Saints and Victoria Road and Millfields have been ignored.
“The developers refused to carry out traffic modelling for fear of having to pay to sort out the traffic and air pollution they will cause.
“The developers tout all the various schemes they are funding and the millions they will pay for improvements.
“However these schemes will not mitigate the problems they create.
“What Bromsgrove needed was a relief road and without it this development will create gridlock.
“It makes no sense to build out the town to the motorway on the west, whilst the road improvements and new station are on the opposite side of town.”
He vowed he and Whitford Vale Voice would continue to campaign on behalf of the community on the issues at further planning meetings and the appeal.
“We need this to be considered by the council very urgently. Developers could then be told to pay up or pack up, rather than the Council running scared of an appeal. ”
Anyone wanting to sign the petition for a Western Relief Road can do so here.
Speaking last Tuesday at the meeting Alan Cunningham, project manager from Taylor Wimpey, said the transport assessment had been worked on for years with both Worcestershire Highways and Mott MacDonald.
“There is a considerable focus on getting people out of cars – Perryfields is in a great location to achieve this.”
He pointed out the National Cycle Network passed through the development and onto the town centre and railway station.
He also pointed to other schemes, including bike hire, car clubs, e-bikes and e-scooters, which would be incorporated and said attitudes were changing post-pandemic and by many young people who were more climate change aware.
A steering group of Taylor Wimpey, Bromsgrove District Council and Worcestershire County Council would assess the transport plans and can add more elements as and when they were needed through a mobility, monitor and manage scheme for which an extra £705,000 had been allocated for.
He hailed the significant open space, wildlife corridors, sports pitches and places for play which would encourage more people to exercise and increase their activity.
“I hope we at Taylor Wimpey have demonstrated we are much more than a housebuilder – we have a genuine interest in the future of Perryfields and Bromsgrove.”
Time-wise, the first homes will be completed in two years time and 100 properties-a-year will be built after that until the scheme is complete.
The planning committee’s minded approval will be put forward to the Planning Inspectorate and considered as part of the evidence when a decision is made.