NEARLY 50 homes built for soldiers returning from the Second World War will be torn down to make way for a new housing development.
On Thursday (January 22) the district council’s Southern Area Development Management Committee granted Festival Housing’s proposal to replace the flats in Pickersleigh Grove.
The plans will see 92 homes built in total which will include developing on a nearby field behind Grove Primary School. More than half of the properties will be affordable with 19 made available for shared ownership and 32 for rent while the rest will be put on the open market.
The 48 flats which are currently in the grove only had a 25 year lifespan and were due to be taken down in the 1970s. Regular maintenance and inspections have prolonged their durability but now they are considered too expensive to sustain.
Duncan Smith from Festival Housing said it would cost £1.5million to refurbish the flats to a suitable standard and claimed some tenants were paying more than £1,900 a year just to heat their homes.
He said the new properties would see residents’ fuel bills halved.
“The new flats are 60 per cent more energy efficient. We believe this type of scheme is the blueprint for a housing led development.”
The firm has vowed to provide current residents with alternative accommodation while construction is underway and will give them first refusal on the new homes.
Coun Val Myatt, on the committee and a Pickersleigh ward member, said it was imperative the tenants were looked after.
“This is not just a building application it is the demolition of homes and a community.
“Some of the residents have been there for over 25 years.
“It is important Festival works with residents to make sure they helped and cared for to get a property to suit their needs.”
Bob Tilley, from the Malvern Civic Society, pleaded with the committee on the night not to permit the development, claiming the field was a ‘key part of the local green network’.
“The Civic Society and many many residents are concerned with the message this will give to the owners of the several neighbouring fields – you can build here, we will not refuse.
“Approval here will set a clear precedent that houses are welcome.”
The committee opted in favour of approval on the night although Coun Clive Smith warned several residents in Pickersleigh Grove would challenge the decision by seeking a judicial review.