A FORMER Mayor of Worcester says people have been left "angry and concerned" about the future of a popular city beauty spot - and is pleading for a reprieve.

Councillor David Tibbutt says he is now getting correspondence about saving Middle Battenhall Farm from outside of Worcestershire, such is the fears for it.

He is also calling upon Worcester City Council to give him "an absolute guarantee" that it will not be included in the revised South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) without a full public consultation.

As your Worcester News revealed last year, Miller Homes wants to build 200 new homes on the land, off Red Hill Lane in Battenhall.

The site is seen as a key green lung in the city, is popular with dog walkers and contains ancient fish ponds.

It is also not currently included in the SWDP, but the number of homes in the draft plan has been revised from 23,200 up to as many as 27,300.

No sites have been earmarked for the extra properties yet, ahead of a fresh public examination by an inspector taking place this month.

Cllr Tibbutt, speaking during a full council meeting, said he wanted a cast iron guarantee "any sites not currently allocated" in the SWDP would be subject to consultation before decisions are made on new additions.

"Middle Battenhall Farm is a valued asset to a lot of people, they are angry and concerned and it isn't just people in Worcester," he said.

"I've had a letter from someone in Gloucester about it. Are their concerns unfounded?"

Councillor Geoff Williams, deputy leader and the cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: "At this stage we've got no idea what the inspector's response to the submissions will be.

"It's very dangerous for any member of this chamber to start talking about specific sites, I've said it before and I'll say it again."

The new examination into the SWDP by Government inspector Roger Clews is taking place on Thursday, March 13 and Friday, March 14.

If he accepts the higher figure councils in Worcester, Malvern and Wychavon will then have to decide where the extra homes could go.

In the meantime, Miller Homes is preparing an outline planning application for the Middle Battenhall Farm site.

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.