THE LONG-RUNNING saga over proposals to build 200 new homes on Middle Battenhall Farm has finally come to an end after developers withdrew their appeal.
Miller Homes told Worcester City Council today (Wednesday) it wouldn’t be pressing ahead with the legal challenge over the council’s lack of a decision over the application submitted at the end of 2013.
In a statement, Miller Homes said that whilst they continued to believe the proposal would have provided much needed local housing, they had decided not to ‘engage in a long and expensive legal challenge’ now that the South Worcestershire Development Plan has been found sound.
Originally submitted to the local authority at the end of 2013, the outline application suffered a history of setbacks and delays and no decision was made by the Planning Committee.
Planning chiefs at Worcester City Council argued the land, which has connections to the Battle of Worcester, was a flood point and the wildlife in the area would need relocating.
However, the councillors speaking for the developers said the site was not considered green belt land, also arguing the 200 homes would bring in 1.8million in council tax.
The Planning Inspectorate eventually fixed an inquiry date of July 2016 – however this will not now take place.
Julie Morgan, Strategic Planning Manager at Miller Homes, said: “It is disappointing that this process has not been able to deliver these new homes at Middle Battenhall Farm.
“Miller Homes believes that its proposals for Middle Battenhall Farm would have provided a very suitable, high quality and sustainable contribution to Worcester’s housing need including much needed affordable homes for young people seeking to rent or get onto the housing ladder”.
Speaking to the Observer, planning committee chairman Coun Alan Amos welcomed the move and said the authority would look to reclaim the costs it had incurred in preparing for the inquiry.
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