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Second plan creates new green belt fear.

Byline: Emma Brady

Residents fighting plans for an animal incinerator on green belt land have condemned a Worcestershire council for approving a housing development on the same site.

Redditch Borough Council's planning committee agreed in principle to grant outline permission for seven luxury homes on the site in Astwood Bank, near Redditch.

Campaigners claim the multi-million pound complex will be rubber stamped in an attempt to get rid of the incinerator.

And they fear the decision to build on green belt land could lead to a rash of similar schemes in the countryside.

Shire Developments has put forward plans for a farmhouse, two cottages and four barn-style conversions.

The site is currently earmarked by Popes Lane ByProducts (PLBP) for a roundthe-clock animal carcass incinerator, which is close to Astwood Bank First School.

Karen Cottam, co-ordinator of Astwood Bank Against Incinerator Action Group, said campaigners are confident the incinerator plans would be thrown out after a public inquiry next month.

The mother-of-two, whose home in Evesham Road overlooks the PLBP site, believes approving plans for the new housing development will set an dangerous precedent.

She said: 'This decision is laughable and Redditch council has really left Astwood Bank out to dry this time.

'They've made what they think is the right decision and deviated from the local plan just to get rid of the incinerator.

'This will open up the flood gates for more inappropriate development in the future.'

Mrs Cottam added: 'There's only a month to go until the public inquiry into the Popes Lane incinerator, which we know we can win with the help of one of the UK's top environmental lawyers.

'Why could the council not wait for the result of the inquiry before rushing ridiculous plans through. Although it has referred it to the Secretary of State, I've no doubt it will be be sent back to be rubber stamped by the council.'

Dr John Cassidy, chairman of governors at Astwood Bank First School, said campaigners are still focusing on the public inquiry into the incinerator.

He said: 'Any plan that secures the area and means there won't be an incinerator operating there is preferable.

'But there are still questions that need to be addressed over the future impact of any kind of housing development.'

Shire Developments plans were agreed in principle by a planning committee on Tuesday.

They will be referred to the Secretary of State because the proposed project deviates from the council's planning policy as it is on green belt land.

Within the next 21 days the plans can either be referred back to the local authority or called in for a public inquiry.

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The site of the proposed incinerator in Astwood Bank
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 21, 2004
Words:451
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