By Christian Barnett – Local Democracy Reporter
More than 50 residents attended a meeting to show their opposition to future housing developments one of the city’s prime green spaces.
The Friends of Battenhall group crammed into the council chamber at the Guildhall on Monday night to discuss opposition to Middle Battenhall Farm being controversially included in a map of potential sites for development in the updated South Worcestershire Development Plan.
Previous plans to build on the site were twice rejected and eventually abandoned by developer Miller Homes after a two-year battle with city council planners, the council’s planning committee, residents and campaigners.
Jason Whittall, who chaired the meeting, said the consultation on the reshaping of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), was the chance to “give a voice to the people” and called on the people of Battenhall to come together in their opposition to the plan.
He said: “When these spaces come under threat, it is important we come together to represent a unified voice.”
Mr Whittall criticised a council roadshow in Worcester last Saturday which gave the people of the city the chance to air their views on potential development sites earmarked for the new SWDP plan.
He said: “There was a lack of appreciation of why these sites are important to the people of Battenhall and why they provide informal green space for dog users. It is a piece of countryside in the city.”
Councillors Louise Griffiths and Louis Stephen, who both represent Battenhall on the city council and former Battenhall city councillor Steve Mackay, who represents St Peter’s on the county council, all attended.
Cllr Griffiths said allowing the site to be used for housing would set a “horrible precedent” for development on greenfield in Battenhall and the rest of the city.
The meeting was also attended by Cllr Alan Tidy, chairman of St Peter’s parish council, who said Middle Battenhall Farm formed part of a green space that was loved and well used by the residents of the parish.
The group also appointed Christine Kevis as the new chairman, Julie Ferman as vice chairman and Dan Harding as treasurer. Cllr Griffiths will continue as secretary.
The group will be holding its next meeting at the Worcester Arms, formerly the Sebright Arms, in London Road on Monday, February 4 at 7.30pm.