CONTROVERSIAL plans for 61 new homes off Worcester's Newtown Road have been approved - despite angry residents campaigning against it.

An outline application for development close to the former Tolladine golf course was accepted by the city council's planning committee yesterday despite fears about ripping up a bridleway to provide access to it.

It was voted through on the casting vote of the chairman Councillor David Wilkinson after the committee was split 5-5 on the project.

Northern Trust, which is behind the scheme, says the land will accommodate a mix of one, two, three and four-bed homes, with the bridleway turned into an access road.

Residents claimed it would be dangerous and lead to a rise in traffic, as well as cause more congestion along Newtown Road.

Sue Harte, who lives adjacent to the site, said: "I'm normally a quiet person who never has a cross word to say, but with the huge impact it will have on me and my neighbours I can't be quiet."

She said the areas "amenity will be irreparably damaged", with a bridleway used by a wide variety of people turned into a dangerous route for traffic.

"Increased noise and pollution will be a direct result of the traffic this will bring," she added.

Councillor Andy Roberts, the area's county councillor, also turned up to object.

He labelled the changes to the bridleway "an absolute bombshell" for the community.

Planning officer Alan Coleman said the new access route will have around 2.5 metres of space for a combined footpath and cycleway to run next to the cars.

It will form part of the final, outline application and the developer will be expected to draw up some kind of boundary work to make it more appealing.

Mr Coleman said: "It won't be a straight road, there will be deflections within it.

"We are satisfied there's enough capacity within that bridleway to provide access to the site."

The committee was split on the merits of the scheme, with Councillor Alan Amos saying he was very unhappy only 26 per cent of the estate will contain affordable homes whereas the council's own target is 40 per cent.

Councillor Paul Denham said Newtown Road is a "dangerous road" and more homes will make it worse unless a new traffic light controlled junction is created.

But Councillor Robert Rowden said: "I cannot see how we've got grounds to refuse the actual application."

Cllr Denham asked for it to be rejected on safety grounds but after a show of hands led to a 5-5 split, it was passed by Cllr Wilkinson.

Before the meeting Warndon Parish Council had objected to it, mainly on the grounds it would damage the landscape and lead to access problems.

Northern Trust plans to sell the land to a third party developer to build the homes.