A SOCIAL housing provider is appealing the council's decision to reject a plan to build 62 affordable homes.

Stonewater wants to overturn the decision by Worcester City Council to refuse a plan to build the homes at at Old Northwick Farm, off Old Northwick Lane, over fears the site would flood and a lack of public transport.

The city council's planning committee meets in private on Thursday (October 17) to discuss the appeal.

Matthew Crucefix from Stonewater said: "We are disappointed that our planning application to build 62 new affordable homes on land at Old Northwick Farm has been rejected, particularly as the council's officers recommended the scheme for approval.

"Our proposals follow the principles of a previously consented scheme but replaces some of the larger homes with some smaller ones to meet current local demand.

"Additionally, we have undertaken detailed work to address local concerns about the proposed scheme. Our appeal against this decision will focus on providing much needed affordable new homes locally.

"The proposed development offers a balanced mix of homes for both affordable rent and home ownership which will benefit the wider community."

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The council’s planning committee was warned the refusal could be overturned on appeal as the site has already been included for residential development in the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) and has already seen a plan for 52 homes approved.

Council planners said refusing the plan could “sterilise” allocated development sites and undermine the SWDP but councillors refused it anyway. Councillors were also told they should take “extreme caution” when considering whether to reject the plan on the grounds it was unsustainable. They also said there was limited evidence the site would flood.

A previous plan by Bloor Homes to build 52 homes on the same site was backed by the city council in 2015 but work never started.

But after the time ran out for building work to begin, a new applicant, Nick Rawlings of Tewkesbury, took over the site and resubmitted a new application for it, similar to the 2015 one.

That plan was approved at a city council planning meeting in December 2016, despite the Environment Agency officially classing the land as a flood zone and the decision being branded "crazy" by local campaigners.