RESIDENTS of Areley Kings have slammed a "nightmare" proposal to build hundreds of new homes on a village field, which they feel will cause congestion chaos.

Barratt Homes, with Harris Lamb property consultancy, hope to develop up to 370 houses on land adjacent to Pearl Lane and Dunley Road, Stourport.

But residents are fighting against the plans, fearing the development will increase current traffic problems and cause greater stress on the area. A petition against the plans has now received over 100 signatures from worried residents.

Barratt Homes hosted an exhibition yesterday (Thursday, December 5) at The Civic, Stourport, to showcase the plans and discuss public concerns. The developers have yet to submit a planning application to Wyre Forest District Council.

At the event, resident Derek Duggan, aged 44, who started the petition, says he has been “inundated with objections to the proposals.”

“The town has no bypass and we are fearful of the congestion,” he said.

He also outlined fears about a lack of school placements, the Roman remains on the site and the field's history of flooding, and the impact the development will have on public transport.

He said: “I think Barratt has jumped the gun because the local plan hasn’t even been agreed yet, with many residents unaware of what exactly is happening.

“It’s getting too much to bear. Stourport will be a nightmare.”

Resident Jerry Hjelter, whose house is next to the proposed site, called the plans a “recipe for disaster”.

He said: “I find it inconceivable that planners could ever consider any major building plans on the Areley Kings side of Stourport bridge.

“Any additional housing in the Areley Kings area can only increase traffic problems as the lack of public transport means residents have no option but to drive into Stourport.”

Another resident said: “I moved to Areley because I’m country at heart. I can’t believe what they are proposing.

“The traffic is getting worse and worse.”

Halesowen News: Residents sign petition against plans Residents sign petition against plans

The Shuttle previously reported Diamond Buses were hit with a £9,000 penalty for the poor punctuality of services on the “problematic” Kidderminster to Areley Kings route 3 service, in August 2018.

A spokesperson for Barratt Homes West Midlands said: “In preparation of submitting a planning application for new homes on this site, all the necessary highways and archaeological surveys, along with a flood risk assessment, were undertaken and will be fully assessed by the relevant bodies during the planning process.

“The site has a draft allocation in the emerging Local Plan."

Mike Parker, Wyre Forest District Council’s corporate director: economic prosperity and place said: “The council is expected to agree the formal submission of the draft Local Plan in February 2020 which will then be sent to the Secretary of State who will then appoint a planning inspector.

“Once the planning inspector has reviewed our submission, there will be a timetable set for our Local Plan to be heard at a public examination where residents who selected they want to appear when they submitted their comments on the Local Plan can have their say.

“The land will not appear in any final adopted Local Plan until sometime in 2021.

“In the meantime there is nothing to prevent a developer from promoting a site that is proposed in the draft Local Plan, nor from submitting a planning application; it will be at their risk that it would not be an allocated site in the plan and therefore might not be granted permission.”