A COUNCILLOR has hit back at criticism that a county village is losing its identity with increased population growth.

Kempsey - just outside Worcester - has expanded after planning permission was given for nearly 100 new homes - with some villagers claiming the village is now the size of a small town.

However, Cllr David Harrison, portfolio holder for planning, infrastructure and flooding at Malvern Hills District Council, hit back saying: “I’ve lived in the village for 68 and I get on with most residents.

“I’ve always felt it’s a very good place to live and I don’t believe it’s lost the feel of a village.

“We have plenty of places for people to get together - before social restrictions were put in place - such as the parish hall and youth centre.

“Yes, the village has expanded but new housing is needed.

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“We are working towards a new community centre and with Section 106 money from the recent development - £1.7 million plus - we are in a position to do this, which we would not have been without development.

“Kempsey is a great place to live.”

Cllr Harrison was responding to a discussion shared on the village's social media group - which has since been deleted.

In May 2019, planning permission was granted by Malvern Hills District Council for 99 homes in Kempsey.

Helen Chard, land and planning director at Taylor Wimpey West Midlands said at the time: “Over 900 people in the area, through the Kempsey Neighbourhood Plan referendum held in October 2017, have supported the plans for a new community centre and sports fields, so we’re proud to be able to deliver this and make a difference in the community.

“We will also ensure that this latest development positively contributes to the local community by providing it with high-quality facilities and transport infrastructure.”

Residents will benefit from 15 acres of land for sports, recreation and community facilities and a mixture of homes, for first time buyers as well as families.