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'Eyesore' development site is put up for sale

Worcester Editorial 3rd Sep, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

THE SITE of an uncompleted housing development on the edge of Worcester which has sparked anger from surrounding residents has been put up for sale.

It comes less than two weeks after developer Leybourne Homes’ new-look designs for the remaining five properties received the backing of Worcester City Council’s planning committee.

The piece of land on Whittington Road where the houses were expected to be built has been left derelict for five years after former owners Clover Homes went into receivership.

But the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which took ownership of the plot in 2009 and joined forces with Leybourne Homes to complete the project, assured concerned residents the former site of the Volvo dealership will be built on once a new owner has been found.

Simon Dickin, asset manager for West Register, which is the property portfolio holder for the taxpayer-owned bank, said they were forced to sell the land after pressure from the Government.

“This site unfortunately falls as part of a wider strategy by the bank to dispose of a high proportion of these assets,” he said.

“It is a very frustrating from our point of view and for the residents’ point of views.”

A petition has been handed into an RBS branch in St Nicholas Street in Worcester as frustration grew over the future of the site, which has been branded an “eyesore”.

But Mr Dickin said he felt like they had dealt with residents’ concerns and they are now in the process of finding a developer, who will finish off the scheme.

“Obviously we have had a number of issues at the end of the year with hording coming down and there has been a few planning issues. But they have been resolved,” he said.

“This site will now be bought by a true developer, who will be buying it to develop on it, so it won’t be just sitting there. They will finish it off.”

However, Louis Stephen, who had been campaigning to get the scheme completed, said he was worried this move would cause further delays, while Coun Steve McKay, councillor for the area, feared the project would be scaled down again.

“At the moment an application has gone in and been approved for a particular design, so if the new developers’ plans are identical it will be a paper exercise,” Coun McKay added.

“However if it is going to be any different then a new application will have to be submitted.

“When the original plans went in people locally were very happy with it. But then it became watered down so the fear now is that it will be sold on and watered down again.”

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