On 22nd May the Southern Area Planning Committee of the Malvern Hills District Council met for the first time since the Council Elections. There were three planning applications: a tree preservation order and the two planning applications for the part of the QinetiQ site that has been vacated between St. Andrews Road and Longridge Road. One application is in outline for a business development on the east of the site (essentially an extension to the Science Park although not contiguous with it). The other full application is for residential development and a care home on the bulk of the site.
The business development was approved unanimously. Being in outline, the main issue at this time is access although there are concerns about the height of potential buildings, and their location which will need to be examined in detail when full planning permission is sought.
The residential and care home development was approved with just one vote against and is for 310 houses and a 66-bed care home facility. Since the original plans were published a number of modifications to the layout have been made to address issues of overlooking neighbouring properties. Also, the footpath along the southern part of the site is to be retained along the current boundary rather than moved as originally proposed. 20% of the housing is to be “affordable”. The care home will result in three trees that have protection orders being removed, and there are many other mature trees across the site which will be removed as part of the overall development.
The view of the Civic Society is that the site needs to be used. There should be suitable historic recording given the significance of work that has taken place on the site since it was a Naval establishment, TRE, RRE, RSRE, DRA, DERA and more recently QinetiQ. The biggest concern of the Civic Society is that the development should be good quality, provide a good environment in which to live, and be sustainable for the future.