THE ONGOING saga surrounding a former council leader’s efforts to create a controversial housing estate in Alfrick has taken another twist after an appeal was lodged.
Plans to build 21 houses on Clay Green Farm were rejected by Malvern Hills District Council’s planning committee in February but The Observer can reveal that decision has been challenged.
The Folly Road site is owned by David Hughes, who was ousted as leader of the district council in May, and would include nine affordable properties.
Councillors previously labelled the development ‘awful’ and ‘soulless’, and objectors appeared to have won their battle when proposals were thrown out.
However, Mr Hughes told The Observer he had appealed against the verdict as he was confident his scheme would help meet the need for houses in the area.
“My view is the application was a reasonable one and the officers involved at the time recommended approval and it was turned down at committee,” he said.
“I still believe the long-term future of the site is not sustainable in the way it is. The use of it has declined and the village desperately needs more housing.”
However, the move to appeal has been met with disappointment from Coun Anthony Warburton, councillor for Alfrick and Leigh, who said: “The decision to refuse the original application was made by MHDCs planning committee, not just its Northern Area Development Management Committee,” he said.
“The decision was, therefore, one representative of the entire council and one I agreed with.
“I am disappointed the applicant has chosen to appeal against that democratic decision but then that is our country’s planning system for you, totally one sided.
“The unsuccessful applicant can demand a replay but those who oppose successful applications have to put up with the resulting development.”
Coun Sarah Rouse, fellow councillor for the ward, added: “It is very disappointing the former Conservative leader has appealed against the democratic decision of this council.
“I will, of course, be supporting Alfrick Parish council and the residents as they once again are forced to defend themselves against unsuitable and opportunistic development.”
Philip Rawle, the agent from PRP Consultants, added a comprehensive appeal submission had been compiled which ‘more than addresses the reasons for refusal’.
“The ultimate decision now rests with the Planning Inspectorate and we wait to put our case forward at the forthcoming appeal hearing,” he said.