A PLAN to allow more people to move into new homes on a controversial housing estate before important roadworks are competed was narrowly backed by council planners.

Two planning applications, submitted by Persimmon and Redrow, looked to change a number of planned road improvements as part of a major 765-home development off Pulley Lane in Droitwich to allow for up to 364 homes to be moved in.

Wychavon District Council planners had approved the major homes plan under the instruction that nobody could move into any of the homes before a number of road improvements had been carried out.

The council and the developer had already signed an agreement which allowed for 90 homes to be moved into – but that number has already been passed.

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Almost 40 per cent of the homes are already occupied - with people living in 105 homes on the Redrow and Taylor Wimpey part of the site while 188 are occupied on the Persimmon side.

Highways admitted Pulley Lane was “not ideal” but had no safety concerns about any of the planned road improvements and raised no objection.

Councillor Richard Morris, who represents Droitwich West, said: “The developers have failed to put in place the necessary highways infrastructure to support the new housing.

“The district and county councils have had to resort to legal action to try and ensure the planning agreements with regards to infrastructure have been put in place.

At a meeting of Wychavon District Council's planning committee on Thursday (April 4), Cllr Morris said disturbance from traffic and congestion would be “immense” – particularly on the A38 with the M5 set to last for a further nine months – and would like to see the roadworks finished before more homes were built.

Cllr Tony Miller, who did not support the plan, asked why the work on the A38 could not have been carried out when it was closed last year.

He said: “I think the developers have let us down badly. The amount of interruptions to the roads and the main A38 is totally unacceptable.

“If the developer hasn’t followed the guidelines that we put on the developer already, how can we make sure that they are going to do that? I don’t think they will.

“The developer sees us as a small council and just do what they want to do and it is really not good enough.”

Speaking about the changes to the Persimmon side of the development, Cllr Miller said: “How many times do we need to ask the developer to do what we have asked them to do? You look at the numbers [of homes allowed to be occupied] and you may as well just put it at a thousand and say carry on."

Cllr Tony Rowley said the planning committee was getting too involved in history and the debate was giving the opportunity for the committee to “vent its concerns over the homes” and not actually deal with the issues.

Dave Hammond, housing and planning services manager at the district council, told the planning committee that because it had already approved the changes to the Redrow plan, highways had showed no objection or shown any safety issue and non-compliance was not a reason to reject a planning application, it had “nowhere to go” other than approval.

Mr Hammond asked if allowing 14 more homes to be moved into would be worth a length and potentially costly legal battle with Persimmon.

The planning committee refused to approve the Persimmon application on the firs vote but eventually approved it by eight votes to two with three abstentions.

The changes to the Redrow plan were eventually approved with committee chairman Cllr David Wilkinson casting the deciding vote after planners were split by six votes to six.