Land News

Storm over green belt homes plan

Express & Star, 14th January, 2004

Thousands of homes could “overwhelm” Stourport under new plans to change the status of green belt land, Wyre Forest councillors fear.

Developers want 500 acres of land in the Astley Cross area reclassified for mixed or residential use. Councillors fear it could lead to large-scale development.

It would have the potential to overwhelm the town of Stourport, they say.

“This could lead to a whole new village being built south of Stourport,” warned Wyre Forest’s environment and economic regeneration spokesman Councillor James Dudley.

“These are large chunks of land – and if, say, 2,000 homes were built in this area you are looking at increasing the population of Stourport by 25 per cent.

“There is no way the infrastructure of the town could cope with this sort of expansion.”

The sites are in Malvern Hills district but are all located close to the border with Wyre Forest.

Malvern Hills is currently preparing its district local plan which will set out how land is used and developed in the district until 2011.

The sites in the Astley Cross area are all currently zoned as green belt and thus protected from development – but during the consultation stage the authority received a number of objections from landowners who want to change the development status of their land.

Mr Dudley said the move would clearly conflict with Wyre Forest’s development strategy and the council would oppose it.

“This is a beautiful part of the world and we have got to fight to preserve the green belt at all costs,” he said.

Mr Dudley accepted there could be some benefit to attracting firms to the area - but not at the expense of losing the countryside.

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