27th Oct, 2016

Controversial Boat Lane homes plan ‘likely to be a reduced scheme,' developers admit

Joshua Godfrey 26th Aug, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

THE LONG-running saga over controversial plans to build 380 homes in the heart of Evesham continues, as developers admit it is ‘likely to be a reduced scheme.’

Hallam Land Management submitted a planning application to Wychavon District Council in September last year to build the homes on land off Boat Lane.

Bosses confirmed to the Observer back in June they were reviewing their plans as a result of the South Worcestershire Development Plan, which states that only 200 homes can be built there, with the Hallam application far exceeding the allocated number of homes for that piece of land.

The application also includes plans for up to 2,500sq metres of employment land, a children’s play area and a community orchard.

In a further development, a fourth extension has been granted to the application, meaning Wychavon planners now won’t make a decision on the homes until at least the end of September- more than a year after the application was first submitted.

In response to why a fourth time extension has been added,Wychavon’s Housing and Planning Services Manager, David Hammond, said: “By law we can extend the deadline for determining a planning application if the applicant agrees, which in this case they have done on four occasions.

“If at any time they are unhappy the applicant is free to appeal to the Planning Inspector on the grounds of non-determination.

“Discussions are continuing and the application will go to planning committee to decide at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Coun Colin Tether from the Vale of Evesham Civic Society welcomed the news and said Hallam now has a ‘golden opportunity’ to work with town residents on the design of the reduced scheme.

“It is good to hear that after a year, Hallam is now considering a new scheme with a reduced amount of development,” Coun Tether said.

“The Civic Society really hopes that a new scheme can be put forward which enhance the middle of Evesham.

“This area is so special to the town and we wish to ensure the priceless views and green areas are retained.

“Hallam has a golden opportunity to work with the local community to come up with a design with which we can all be proud and which will compliment the Town Centre.

“We call upon Hallam to take their responsibility seriously as there can be few areas such as this which are so loved and have remained rural in character in the middle of an urban area.

“We look forward to hearing how Hallam will approach this matter and to working with them.”

A spokesperson for Hallam Land Management said: “Hallam are considering the responses to the current application and considering next steps for what is likely to be a reduced scheme.”