THE LONG-RUNNING debate over a proposed new community hall for Pershore is set to continue after planning chiefs postponed a decision on the application over traffic concerns.
Pershore Town Council bosses submitted their application for proposed new hall which could seat 200 people off Defford Road at a meeting last Thursday (January 10).
The new hall, if approved, would 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.
However, current Mayor Coun Chris Parsons led the bid to build a new hall for the town and told the meeting the town council believed it had satisfied all planning application requirements.
“At least five local clubs have moved out of town because there is no suitable venue for them to continue. While these organisations will probably not come back into the town we don’t want to lose anymore,” he said.
“We have been advised by Community First the provision of a new hall will encourage new clubs to form and new activities to take place, important for a growing town.”
Coun Parsons highlighted the two consultations which had taken place and the hall’s inclusion in the Pershore Town Plan.
“All of these consultations have demonstrated the need for a venue such as the one before you today and the majority have indicated their preference for this site,” he said.
The Mayor stressed a number of options had been considered including a second floor at the Town Council’s High Street offices.
In response, Dr Judy Dale of Pershore Civic Society asked for the application to be postponed to address safety concerns posed by the plans.
“County highways have identified the dangers for pedestrians but seem to have ignored the change of use for the car park with potentially hazardous implications,” she said.
“Being so far from the centre of Pershore there will be many vehicles needing to park and access to the car park is close to a bend in the road where cars are travelling at 50mph.
“Imagine a large number of cars leaving after a function, what will it be like?
Coun Tucker said: “I believe approval would set precedent for those seeking to build along Defford Road and this is particularly important as we get into the SWDP review process.
“Approval now could imply we favour the major housing proposals put forward on land up to Tiddesley Wood which is a national nature reserve. It would certainly make it more difficult to resist such development at appeal,” he added.
A site visit was suggested by Coun Val Wood and proposed by fellow Pershore councillor Coun Rowley for members of the committee to view the site and the proposed access road.
Members of the committee unanimously approved his request.