A controversial plan to build more than 80 new homes in a village has been given the green light.

Malvern Hills District Council’s planning committee approved the application to build 83 homes in Martley near Worcester at a meeting on Wednesday (September 6).

The application for the homes was put forward in July and follows an identical plan submitted by developer Lioncourt Homes in 2021 – a plan that is now the subject of an appeal after the council took too long to make a decision.

Planning chair Cllr Dean Clarke said the land being included in several – albeit out-of-date – development plans meant the committee had “little choice” but to approve it.

READ MORE: Total donations revealed for Worcester Show after entrance fee U-turn

Cllr Clarke said the council would be on “shaky ground” if it was forced to defend refusing it at an appeal and was calling for it to be approved with a “very sad heart.”

Cllr Dan Walton said the Chantry School was already oversubscribed and the county council needed to start getting a grip on building more schools if it was going to agree to more homes in Martley and the other surrounding villages.

“At the moment it’s severely lacking and is going to become a real pinch point at which the children won’t have a school to go to,” he said.

READ MORE: Work continues on hospital's RAAC roof

Lioncourt Homes submitted the plans to the council at the end of 2021 with an unusual year-long public consultation attracting a lot of objections from villagers in Martley but very little else.

The developer appealed to the government’s planning inspectors over ‘non-determination’ which means the council missed the statutory deadline of 13 weeks to make a decision.

READ MORE: Splashpad in Worcester's Gheluvelt Park to have opening hours cut

Nevertheless, Lioncourt Homes submitted a duplicate of its 2021 application to Malvern Hills District Council which, despite the ongoing appeal, planners had to assess for a decision to be made in the usual way.

This came just months after government inspectors overruled the district council and approved another plan for 52 homes in the village.

The land has been included as a potential site for up to 71 new homes in the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), the key county planning blueprint which sets out where thousands of new homes will be built in the next 20 years, but it is still under review and has not been adopted having faced years of delays.