COMMUNITY leaders in Wychavon have condemned a decision made to build two massive housing developments despite them being refused by local councillors.
The new housing estates at Yew Tree Hill, in Droitwich and Long Marston Airfield, near Pebworth, faced much local opposition, which was backed by councillors at Wychavon District Council who rejected both proposals.
But now appeals into both developments have been allowed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
The first development in Droitwich concerns two applications for 765 homes and a 200 unit care facility to the south of Droitwich last year.
The plans were put forward by Barberry Droitwich Ltd for 500 homes and a care facility and from Persimmon Homes Ltd for 265 homes - all at land north of Pulley Lane and Newland Lane.
In Long Marston the development proposed by Codex Land Promotions Ltd adjacent to Sims Metals UK will include up to 380 homes and a large area of employment space.
Today Mid Worcestershire MP Sir Peter Luff blasted the decision saying he was "appalled".
"I condemn the opportunism of developers who have wickedly exploited the current position in Wychavon before the adoption of the South Worcestershire Development Plan.
"We need more houses locally, but they should be built where locally elected councillors decide after a process of local consultation, not at the whim of developers. Now Wychavon will be left to pick up a bill for many thousands of pounds of legal costs for daring to stand up for its people.
"The sickening drumbeat of a legalistic process has again drowned out the voice of democracy."
And Sir Peter was not the only one disappointed by the decision.
Paul Middlebrough, leader of Wychavon District Council, said: "We are extremely dismayed with the Secretary of State’s decisions in respect of these planning applications and it does appear he has very little regard to the voices of our local communities in the planning system.
"Over the last year over 850 housing units were approved by the council in sustainable locations in the district, but these applications are in inappropriate locations.
"These unwelcome decisions will not affect our resolve to refuse poor development."
Steven Sparrow, of the campaign group Save Our Green Open Spaces against the plans in Droitwich, said: "SOGOS members are naturally very disappointed with the decision, but remain confident that all objections raised during both the initial planning stage and later appeal hearings were vaild, and remain so."