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Planners want developer talks over 'eyesore' piece of land

Worcester Editorial 2nd Jul, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

PLANNING chiefs are set to hold crunch talks with the developer of an ‘eyesore’ piece of land in a bid to get a new housing estate finally built.

The old Volvo car dealership, on Whittington Road, has been left derelict for five years, since former owners Clover Homes went into receivership in 2009.

New builders, Leybourne Estates, have proposed a scaled-down development of the ten properties which was originally suggested back in 2008, but city council members failed to back the idea.

At a recent Worcester City Council planning meeting, objector Jason Whittall said: “The site is located at the historic Whittington Gate into the city, so should Worcester be saying to its thousands of visitors ‘welcome to our city, here are some cheap sterile box dwellings which are absent of quality and detail?’

“Or is it right to ensure the development is completed they way it is intended to, with matching materials to the surrounding dwellings and to set high standards to new residential homes in Worcester.

“If it is cheapened it would be damaging to the character of the area.”

Officers had recommended approval for the development, but the city’s planning committee were won over by Mr Whittall’s objections and have asked planning chiefs to re-start talks with the developer.

Coun Roger Knight, councillor for St. Peter’s, said: “This is a very important area within the city, not only is it on a major road, it is one with history and we should do our very best to get something that is a lot better than what is being suggested.

“A perfectly good scheme has been approved and for whatever reason that doesn’t seem to be going ahead, but what has persuaded me to think differently is about completion, which is key.”

Coun Geoff Williams, chairman of the planning committee, added: “The feeling I am getting from the committee is they would prefer to see this deferred for further discussion to see if we can enhance the design and also for discussions about getting as far as we can to completion.

“All we want to see is a satisfactory scheme on this important and very visible site.”

The application was unanimously deferred by the committee.

Alan Coleman, senior planning officer, said deferring the application would give them the chance to get a definitive statement of the commitment to completing the site.

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