Fewer homes near Tiddesley Wood ‘a win for common sense’ - The Evesham Observer

Fewer homes near Tiddesley Wood ‘a win for common sense’

Evesham Editorial 30th Sep, 2022   0

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after controversial proposals for a 450 home ‘village’ threatening the 6,000-year-old Tiddesley Wood were significantly amended at the 11th hour.

The Pershore site was included in the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) review of the area’s housing needs until 2041 and provoked widespread criticism from community groups and across the political parties.

Despite numerous attempts being rejected by planners to build on the existing dwelling on Orchard Farm and Defford Road over the past 15 years, the site was ear-marked in the 2019 review for a residential estate of 450 houses combined with neighbouring fields.

If approved the development would have run from the Holloway along the top of existing developments in Three Springs Road down to Tiddesley Wood creating a total of 552 new homes.

The suggestion, made as part of a consultation into the housing blueprint for south Worcestershire for the next two decades, drew condemnation from campaigners seeking to protect the site of special scientific interest amid fears of a ‘catastrophic effect’ on its wildlife

Eight weeks of active campaigning during the consultation period saw two peaceful protests of nearly 300 people held both at the Civic Centre and the SWDP exhibition while Pershore Town Council voted unanimously to reject the proposal.

The 450 homes proposals in the initial draft SWDP has now been reduced to 112 properties with a large ‘buffer zone’ between the proposed site and the ancient woodlands. It will be discussed by Wychavon councillors next month.

Pershore Liberal Democrats Dan Boatright, Carolyn Harford and Charles Tucker welcomed the news which was confirmed when Natural England and the Wildlife Trust objected because of Tiddesley Wood’s national importance.

“This is a brilliant result for people, wildlife and the environment,” Coun Tucker said.

“We always said the housing plan would devastate the ecology of Tiddesley Wood – by concreting over the feeding and nesting areas of birds, insects, bats and mammals and by dramatically increasing human and pet intrusion around the wood.”

“Noise, pollution and street lights would all have played their part in disrupting wildlife as well,” he added.

Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin hailed the news as a ‘victory for common sense’ despite the considerable time devoted to the consultation which was paused during the pandemic.

“I am pleased to see the local planners have taken this common-sense decision to reduce the scale of the development and reduce the impact on this wonderful rural beauty spot,” Mrs Baldwin said.

“The latest version of this plan has taken a considerable time to get to this stage with significant pauses in the process during the pandemic.

“However, the new plan is now public, and councillors will get the chance to review and vote on the proposals before the public get to have their say too,” she added.


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