A FORMER Worcester City Council planning officer reckons Perdiswell offers the “best chance for the football club to get planning approval for a stadium”.

Worcester City Supporters’ Trust enlisted the help of Mark Taylor, a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, to assess the prospects of a successful verdict from the Planning Inspectorate, an independent body based in Bristol.

The trust’s hopes of gaining permission for a new ground had been set back by a double rejection from city councillors despite Perdiswell being recommended for approval by officers.

Taylor revealed that the only issue up for debate on appeal would be the one given for refusal – the scale and mass of the development – with no revisit of previous concerns such as traffic or noise.

After his address, more than 40 members of the trust backed a motion from the floor to proceed with Perdiswell in spite of the club now favouring development at Parsonage Way.

“If you read the recommendation, the report was pretty sound,” said Taylor.

“I would not say they (the council) were grasping at straws but they were really struggling for reasons to refuse.

“When you look at the planning history for the site, the most recent one was for the swimming pool, etcetera, and that seemed to sail through even though it was bigger in terms of scale and mass than what we have proposed. The precedent is there.

“All I am looking at is the best chance for the football club to get planning approval for a stadium and I think that would be to appeal.

“I can’t say it any more simply than that. I am only looking at it from a planning point of view but can see no reason not to go to appeal and am fairly confident it should go our way.”

The trust now has to lodge its appeal by January 26 with a hearing or written representations to follow.

Taylor indicated the council would likely prefer written representations as the cheaper option but that the process would be of minimal cost with no fees applied and the trust able to represent themselves.

“Most of the appeal is already done for us,” added Taylor. “Our report is what the planning report said, our statement is done because the council workers agree.

“If it was a political vote – and I am not saying it was – the politics get taken completely out of it once it gets to the planning inspectorate. It is only looked at on planning merits and grounds.”

Meanwhile, Taylor scotched suggestions that Parsonage Way would affect the trust’s bid.

“I have no idea why it would jeopardise an appeal. In terms of pure planning, it categorically would not affect it in any way whatsoever,” he said.

Taylor did warn that the seven years the trust would have to start work could be reduced to three.