A NEW COMMUNITY hall for Pershore has been given the green light by Wychavon planning chiefs to bring a long-running debate over the proposed site to an end.
Members of Wychavon’s planning committee approved the application by seven votes to two with two councillors abstaining at a meeting this afternoon (Thursday).
Pershore Town Council bosses submitted their application for proposed new hall which could seat 200 people off Defford Road at a meeting in January.
The new hall will be built close to the town’s cemetery but has been at the heart of a war of words between town councillors since it was first proposed.
Despite being backed by residents in a consultation in 2017, former town mayor Coun Charles Tucker claimed the project had no legitimacy despite a majority of town councillors supporting the scheme.
Councillors deferred the application in January to enable members to visit the site to view the potential access to the new hall from the busy Defford Road.
A second debate on the application resulted in a further deferral for legal advice on whether the application needed to planning guidelines for town centre developments.
Speaking at the meeting, Mayor of Pershore Coun Chris Parsons spoke in favour of the new hall and pointed out to members the application was being recommended for approval for the third time.
“All of the consultations we have held have indicted a site such as the one before you today,” he said.
“We believe our application provides a much needed addition for many activities in a growing town, both now and in the future. It will provide a lasting legacy for this town.”
All three of Pershore’s district councillors, who are all candidates in the district council elections on May 2, spoke against the application as the local representatives and not as members of the planning committee and Coun Tucker repeated his opposition to the plan.
“It beggars belief our Town Council want to take footfall and business away from the town centre,” he said.
Coun Val Wood echoed his criticisms and said: “I’m sorry but this not supported by the local population, contrary to the presentations made from the Town Council.”
Coun Tony Rowley said he supported the idea of a new community hall but stressed the application was in the wrong place and called on planning chiefs to reject the proposals.
During the debate, Coun Richard Lasota, who is also standing for election on May 2, said: “At the end of the day it’s in the wrong location but it’s the only offer on the table and we should approve it.”
The application was approved following a vote subject to conditions.