RESIDENTS in Droitwich are furious over controversial plans to build affordable housing on garage sites.
One application in Pridzor Close was thrown out by Wychavon District Council’s planning department but, on Monday (March 30), Fortis Living (Festival Housing Association) launched an appeal against the decision.
The plans were rejected because the building of two bungalows, with access and infrastructure, would lead to the loss of nine existing garages and seven off-road parking spaces.
Among the reasons for refusal by officers were it would exacerbate existing on-street parking issues, harm the local area and impact on residents’ quality of life.
One Hill End resident claimed he did not receive a letter and only found out from a notice on a lamp post near the garages.
“Parking around here is already diabolical and to take away nine garages and seven spaces for just two bungalows is ludicrous.
“Everyone is up in arms about it and no one from Fortis has come to talk to us.”
Chawson residents have received letters telling them there ae plans to knock down garages in Bower Hill for more affordable housing.
Those living there have labelled the letters ‘heavy-handed’.
They announce residents are given ‘NOTICE TO QUIT’ by no later than noon on April 27, adding: ‘If the keys are not returned, we may repossess the garage by changing the lock(s). We will recharge you for any costs incurred in gaining access and clearing the garage of any contents’.
One woman, who has lived in Camp Hill for more than 20 years, said: “The way the letter was written was not nice at all – I found it threatening and it made us feel guilty, as if we had done something wrong – that is simply not the case.”
She added plans had not even been submitted, so questioned why the garages had to be vacated by April 27.
She said she and her daughter now had garages on an alternative site, but that was a quarter of a mile away and, she claimed, there would not be enough spaces for everyone.
“There are 25 garages and 30 to 40 cars – where are they going to park?
“The irony is that if new homes are built, they by law will have to have designated car parking spaces with them as well.”
On the Pridzor Close appeal, Fortis Living’s assistant director, growth and development, Duncan Smith, said there was a critical shortage of affordable housing, both in the two counties and in the UK.
“Here at Fortis Living we are committed to doing all we can to help tackle the shortfall and schemes such as this, which will see a former garage site beyond economical repair transformed into local family homes, will help us to do just that.”
A decision on that is expected by October.
On Bower Hill, Mr Smith said he appreciated it would cause inconvenience and possible frustration to some garage tenants which was why Fortis had offered every resident a garage space on the Chawson estate if they needed one.
He said the notice period had been increased from a week to a month to give tenants time to take up an alternative space and added an application for the site would be submitted to Wychavon District Council in the next eight weeks.