Villagers march against housing

Hundreds of angry villagers marched through Hagley before handing a letter to Lord Cobham against plans to build nearly 200 homes on his land.

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A column of more than 700 campaigners wound around roads in Hagley on Saturday to show the depth of feeling against the scheme.

Cala Homes wants to build 175 properties on part of the 350-acre Hagley Hall site on land bordered by the A456 Kidderminster Road and the A491 Stourbridge Road.

But villagers fear a flood of new neighbours will stretch schools and village services, including the village’s doctor’s surgery, to breaking point and have opposed the plans.

There are also concerns it will lead to further traffic along already-congested roads and add to poor air quality in the village.

Saturday’s noisy protest – which saw hundreds chant ‘save our village, keep Cala out’ – came just days after planning consultants Framptons held a consultation on plans for another 70-home scheme on land off Western Road nearby.

Some protesters even voiced fears the Hagley Hall development could prove the ‘thin end of the wedge’ for future housing plans on open land in the area.

Doctor Alec Syrotiuk, a father-of-two who lives on South Road, Hagley, said: “This seems the thin end of the wedge to me and is worrying considering the Frampton development aswell.”

Jane Broom, a mother-of-two of Hagley Close, said the development added to her frustrations as her seven-year-old son Theo has been on the waiting list for Hagley Primary School for two years already.

Hagley Residents’ Action Group member Rachel Jenkins said: “I think this protest will show Lord Cobham how we feel, though I don’t think that will be any surprise to him.” Regional managing director for Cala Darren Humphreys has said the region is facing a major housing shortage. He said the firm would spend around £1.7 million to pay for improvements to roads and boost education. More than 4,300 letters opposing the scheme have already been delivered to homes and a petition signed by 2,000.