BEAUTY spots in Malvern could be ‘sacrificed’ as developers continue to search for land to build on in the town.
Fears have been raised Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) may be targeted for new developments after 24 homes in Welland were passed through on appeal.
The Marlbank Road site is located in an AONB and Andy Pitt, chair of the Upper Welland Action Group, told The Observer he was ‘fearful’ the decision could set a precedent for other areas to fall victim to appeals.
Among those could include Upper Welland Road (95 homes) and Rothwell Road (46 homes) in Malvern Wells.
Developers have seen applications thrown out for the two sites, which both have beauty spot status.
Mr Pitt said: “Our concern is in order to beat the adoption of the South Worcestershire Development Plan, Malvern’s precious AONB will be irrevocably sacrificed.
“Spatially the AONB makes up a very small proportion of the district as a whole and given the heritage, character and topography of the area surrounding the hills, it is a disaster that Malvern is shouldering 8,950 new houses.
“The remaining AONB is vital to the future of Malvern and the cumulative effect of all these developments is ultimately bad for biodiversity, bad for the local villages and indeed Malvern itself.”
Viv Nelson, a resident of Welland, added: “I think there is a problem here because there are a few planning applications rejected but go through on appeal and I would be worried about other residents.
“An AONB so close to home which goes through on appeal does not look good for people hoping their site being an AONB will be a realistic objection to their planning.”
However, Coun Mick Davies, councillor for Morton, said the development on Marlbank Road, which is set to include 50 per cent affordable homes, would deliver ‘much-needed housing’.
“It would be really unfortunate if this sets a precedent for the remainder of the AONB,” Coun Davies said.
“It is unfortunate it is in the AONB but I don’t think it is out of context with the village and I do think it does deliver much-needed housing.
“It should not set a precedent for other applications so other protest groups should not be disheartened by this particular judgement.”