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Catesby Estates to Re-Apply to Build Homes in Whitford

Nearly a month after it lost a high court bid over controversial plans to construct hundreds of homes, Catesby Estates has confirmed that it will reapply to build houses in Whitford.

In 2014 the planning committee for Bromsgrove District Council rejected an application from Miller Homes Ltd and Catesby Estates Ltd to construct 490 properties on land near Whitmore Road.

The council sided with Whitford Vale Voice, a residents’ group opposing the application, stating that the development would have an adverse effect on the surrounding network.

After an appeal to the planning inspector was dismissed, Catesby Estates mounted a High Court challenge. The firm’s legal counsel claimed that the planning inspector had acted in error and been unfair.

On February 18, Mrs Justice Patterson at the Administrative Court in Birmingham dismissed the challenge.

Catesby Estates planning director David Morris said that the site is a key component in the council’s local plan and the firm has attempted to deliver it in accordance with the council strategy and, in the case of the highway, with the local highway authority in nearby Worcestershire County.

Mr. Morris said that they intend to keep working with the local authority, members of the community, and relevant stakeholders to ensure that a local solution is found.

He said that he was disappointed that the High Court Challenge failed, but hopes that the two councils (Bromsgrove District and Worcestershire County) take an approach suggested earlier: work with Catesby Estates to adopt a viable highways approach that will enable the site to be delivered.

Worcestershire County Council has created a predictive highway scheme for Bromsgrove which will be used to guide and inform site proposals. Mr. Morris stated that the planning inspector did not think the site should be brought forward before that model was complete, and now that this obstacle has been removed, Catesby Estates will submit another application in June.

Specialists in Structural Defects

Councillor Luke Mallett, who opposed the development since its initial proposal, said that Catesby Estates have misinterpreted his position on the matter. He said that the developers did not pay attention to local concerns and did not provide sufficient justification for their assertion that the plan will work, despite the traffic gridlock already in place.

Whitford Vale Voice (WVV) have already voiced concerns over the impact of the new application on Whitford’s congested roads.

WVV chairman Roy Dixon said that when Catesby Estates submits a second UK planning permission application for development off Whitford Road, they will have to engage more with the community and listen to feedback from local residents. Like the previous application, a public exhibition will be expected, so that as many local people as possible are made aware of the plan

Mr. Dixon added that WVV would like to see everyone involved working as a team to provide a western bypass for Bromsgrove so that congestion may be relieved, commute times reduced, and efficiency improved for local businesses.

 

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