PLANS for a multi-million pound 200-home estate in Worcester have been submitted to the city council - despite the land not being earmarked for development.
Miller Homes has signalled intentions to develop Middle Battenhall Farm, an historic old mediaeval fishpond complex, by handing in a planning application.
But it comes despite the fields, off Redhill Lane, not being pencilled in for development in the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), the county’s housing blueprint.
The SWDP, which contains provision for 23,200 homes, is currently being revised after inspector Roger Clews said it 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.
The fields are popular with dog walkers and are considered extremely valuable by residents in the area.
Your Worcester News first revealed how the developer was considering the plan one year ago, and has spent the last few months trying to persuade people.
Susan MacDonald, 51, who lives in Whittington, said: “That area should be left as it is, there’s no question.
“I can see why a developer might like it because it’s close to the M5 but it’s part of the character - once we lose it, it’s gone forever.”
Councillor Marc Bayliss, who represents the area on the county council, said: “It’s a terrible idea.
“It’s one of the few large green areas left in Worcester and is a valuable vista, there’s an ancient scheduled monument there and even the old farms have historic value.
“The site was rejected as part of the SWDP and there were good reasons for that.”
Miller Homes says the planning application is an outline one, and if it gets approval it intends to draw up details for a “mix” of property sizes.
It says affordable homes will form part of the final plan, and that in response to concerns a signal controlled junction will be created for access to the complex next to the New College.
It also plans to create an interpretation board to alert people to the mediaeval fishponds, and draw up a management plan for the green land just behind the new proposed houses.
A spokesman said: “This would be development on land that provides a sustainable urban extension.”