Yew Tree Hill campaigners face anxious wait on planning appeal decision

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to build hundreds of homes in the Yew Tree Hill area of Droitwich Spa say they remain hopeful a planning inquiry decision will go their way.

Members of Save Our Green Open Spaces (SOGOS) now face an anxious wait after a 10-day hearing at the Chateau Impney Hotel was concluded on Friday (February 14).

The inquiry started last month after developers lodged an appeal against the decision by Wychavon District Council to reject two applications for 765 homes and a 200 unit care facility to the south of Droitwich last year.

The plans were put forward by Barberry Droitwich Ltd for 500 homes and a care facility and from Persimmon Homes Ltd for 265 homes - all at land north of Pulley Lane and Newland Lane.

The planning inspector will now carry out a site visit with all parties on Tuesday, February 25 before a final decision is made.

Steve Sparrow, deputy chairman of SOGOS, which has been fighting a three year battle against development of Yew Tree Hill, said: "We remain hopeful that the views of local people will be taken into account, and that Droitwich will not lose the important green field amenity provided by the site.

"It is impossible for ordinary people to rival the knowledge, time and resources put into a planning application by commercial developers, and even more so during a planning appeal. For instance, SOGOS cannot afford to engage two QCs to head up a defence. In addition, we all had take time from work and our home lives to take part in the process. However, it was all worth it and we are happy with our efforts.

"We would really like to thank residents for their ongoing support and their dignified presence during the inquiry."

He also said that the end of the inquiry does not mean the end of SOGOS, confirming that the campaign group will continue to fight on to help with other similar planning issues in the future.

"SOGOS is not a single issue campaign, it is important for us to continue." he said. "We want to ensure that the views of local people are taken fully into account when identifying locations for the type of housing that Droitwich really needs - affordable housing, built at the right time and in the right place."

The group still needs financial support to help cover the cost of legal representation at the inquiry hearing.

Anyone who can donate to the SOGOS fighting fund should email saveyewtreehill@gmail.com or call Rhod Drury on 07880747036. To find out more about the group visit saveyewtreehill.org.uk

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