A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build homes at Astley Cross, just beyond Wyre Forest's boundary, will not be challenged by the district's council, it has been announced.

Bovis Homes has outline planning permission to build 62 houses on a field between Pearl Lane, Areley Common and Malvern Edge Court - just outside Wyre Forest.

Campaigners had hoped the approval would be challenged by the district council but, instead, the authority says it will accept the decision but try to persuade neighbouring authority Malvern Hills District Council and the developers to use financial contributions to offset any effect the new homes would have on Wyre Forest.

Malvern Hills District Council's decision to approve the plans has been met with anger in Areley Kings and Stourport as council tax, new homes bonus and section 106 money would go to Malvern Hills but potential new residents would use schools, surgeries and other services in cash-strapped Wyre Forest.

It had also been argued the development was not needed, as Wyre Forest had already allocated its new housing needs until 2026 and the site had not appeared in Malvern Hills' South Worcestershire Development Plan, although it is now likely to revise that document and include it.

Campaigners had hoped Wyre Forest, which originally opposed the application, would appeal against the decision but a statement from the authority released last week said: "The council has confirmed that, having examined the options carefully, it does not intend to challenge the decision on the planning application."

Conservative Wyre Forest district councillor John Campion, cabinet member for planning and economic regeneration, said: "We have invested in an up-to-date local plan to support economic and housing growth and to protect our communities from unplanned developments.

"We continue to press our neighbouring authorities to do the same and, where appropriate, to make sure they fund local infrastructure in Wyre Forest for any developments adjacent to our district's boundaries.

"In respect of Astley Cross, Wyre Forest District Council will continue to support the adoption of the South Worcestershire Development Plan to deter any future development proposals in the locality.

"We will also seek appropriate use of the developer's contributions for the 62 dwellings that have received outline permission, particularly in respect of affordable housing provision and public open space in Wyre Forest. We look forward to a positive outcome from discussions with Malvern Hills about these issues."