RESIDENTS in a Worcester road say they fear the worst over a controversial bid for 200 new homes - warning their street will become a "rat run" for drivers.

People living in Battenhall Road say they are already suffering because of motorists dumping their cars along the street to use nearby playing fields.

They say a bid by Miller Homes to build 200 properties on Middle Battenhall Farm will make the traffic situation even worse.

The developer has handed Worcester City Council a planning application despite the farm not being earmarked for any homes in the emerging South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).

People living in the street say drivers will attempt to cut through it to get into Worcester.

Robert Morris, who lives in Battenhall Road, said: "The volume of traffic we have to put up with on weekends is bad already.

"Every weekend some kind of sport events are on, whether it be football in the winter or cricket in the summer.

"You have cars parked on both sides all down it and it's hard to get through.

"We even had some tradesperson come to visit us the other day and say 'it's taken us 10 minutes to get from St Mary's (St Mary's School, off Battenhall Avenue) to you'.

"This street is a rat-run now - if this development goes ahead 200 cars could potentially be going down it to get into town."

Middle Battenhall Farm, which lies between Whittington Road and Battenhall, off Red Hill Lane, contains an ancient fish pond and is popular with dog walkers.

The SWDP, which contains provision for 23,200 homes, is currently being revised up to 27,300 properties after inspector Roger Clews said the old tally isn’t enough.

That leaves sites like Middle Battenhall Farm vulnerable, with fears the city council could refuse Miller Homes’ scheme but be defeated on appeal.

A spokesman for Miller Homes says in response to concerns over traffic, the proposals include a signal controlled junction next to the New College in Whittington Road. The company says it believes the access will encourage drivers to avoid rat runs.

A spokesman said: "There are no plans to provide better vehicle access to Battenhall Road, as the upgraded junction with traffic lights will sit alongside the New College."

The company plans to create an interpretation board to alert people to the mediaeval fish ponds, and draw up a management plan for the green land just behind the new proposed houses.

It has called the project "a sustainable urban extension" to Worcester but protestors have formed the Middle Battenhall Farm Land Action Group in response to it.