A PLANNING application for one of the biggest developments in Malvern for decades has just been sent in to the district council.

Gleeson Developments Ltd and Welbeck Strategic Land LLP have put in an outline application to build up to 800 new homes on farmland on the north-western edge of the town.

The plan also includes employment land, a care home, community hall, a police post, shops and other facilities, as well as playing fields and green space.

The site, bounded by Lower Howsell Road, the railway line and Worcester Road, is allocated for housing in the South Worcestershire

Development Plan, and Gleeson’s interest has been known about for some years.

The developers say the scheme will mean an investment of more than £100 million in Malvern, and will create up to 1,400 jobs.

But opposition to the scheme is likely to be strong, with particular concerns being the effect on infrastructure, especially the road network, and the loss of farmland which currently provides a home to wildlife, including of skylarks, bats and foxes.

The closing of the rural gap between the edge of Malvern and Leigh Sinton is also likely to be a major concern.

Gary Williams, head of planning and housing at Malvern Hills District Council, said: “We’ve only recently received the application so the process is still in the very early stages and at this point in time no special arrangements have been put in place.

"However, we are aware of the potential significant interest in this application and so will keep that under constant review and will aim to ensure the public is kept informed at all stages as the application progresses."

Scott Chamberlin, managing director at Gleeson, said: “This development is designed to deliver positive economic, environmental and social benefits for the area.

“The new business space will strengthen the area’s competitiveness for attracting new businesses and existing businesses looking to expand in Malvern, providing the opportunity for residents to live near to their place of work.

“We will provide much-needed new homes for local people and our landscape-led masterplan creates a development which is in keeping with the local character, retains and enhances the landscape features on the site and provides a significant new parkland area separating the development edge from Newland village.”