CONTENTIOUS plans to turn a busy bridleway into a road have been approved despite fears the move could put people’s lives in danger.
Councillors gave permission to an outline application to build 61 homes off Newtown Road at a meeting of Worcester City Council’s planning committee last Thursday (March 20).
As part of the scheme, developer Northern Trust Company Ltd wants to use a bridleway as the main access road to the development near the former Tolladine golf course.
But Sue Harte, of Newtown Road, told councillors an introduction of a road would increase people’s chances of being hit by a car.
“I am normally a quiet person who never has a cross word to say, but due to the impact these plans will have on me, my neighbours and the huge number of people who use the bridle path every day I could not sit back and say nothing,” she said.
“The bridle path is used by a wide variety of people, so surely it is dangerous to replace a quiet pedestrianised bridleway with a busy road.”
Coun Andy Roberts, county councillor for the area, said it felt like a “bombshell” had hit the community when they found out the plans for the bridleway.
“Nothing has made me change my mind about the unsustainability of this access,” he added. “Approving this would reduce the quality of life for the existing residents and it would build an on-going hazard rather than building a solution.”
Coun Paul Denham described Newtown Road as “dangerous” having been involved in a car crash when attempting to enter the route from Leopard Rise and he felt it would be safer to create a junction controlled by traffic lights.
“It may be more expensive and take a little bit more work to introduce traffic lights, but it is a price well worth paying because if we approve this we are stuck with it,” Coun Denham said.
“We need to have fewer junction off Newtown Road, but the ones that are there should be signalised, which will reduce accidents.”
He was among five councillors to reject the scheme, but Coun David Wilkinson, chairman of the planning committee, passed it through after the vote was tied at 5-5.
Speaking after the meeting at a spokeswoman at Northern Trust, said: “We are pleased that the outline planning application has been approved and we are confident that the proposals will bring increased benefits to the local community and provide future investment for the area.”