NEIGHBOURS in Kidderminster are fearful plans for 130 homes on a field in Habberley will eat into the buffer between the town and the local nature reserve.

Leaflets have been delivered to homes close to the field off the B4190 Habberley Road and, with a planning application due to be submitted by Richborough Estates later this month, residents worry the ongoing lockdown will stop them from voicing their concerns before it’s too late.

Kidderminster Shuttle: An aerial view of the proposed development site in KidderminsterAn aerial view of the proposed development site in Kidderminster

The land is set to be removed from the green belt as part of Wyre Forest District Council’s Local Plan and, while developers say the scheme will bring much-needed affordable homes to the area, neighbours are calling on the council to protect the picturesque countryside and prevent “urban sprawl” from encroaching on the nearby Habberley Valley Nature Reserve.

Local resident Sara Macdiarmid said: “This and surrounding areas of greenbelt land are not only an important and valuable habitat, they also provide a vital shield between the town and our local Habberley Valley Nature Reserve.

“This field and those around it are surrounded by a network of hedgerows, each providing corridors of connectivity throughout our rural landscape. This development will fracture these corridors through the removal and disruption of these hedgerows.

“Much of the wildlife that inhabits these hedgerows will be driven away, destroying an eco-system that was once protected and allowed to flourish.

“We have strongly encouraged the council to protect and defend our wildlife, and our valuable green belt. This land must be defended and remain a robust boundary that prevents urban sprawl.”

Richard Bateman said: “We cannot allow such damage to our countryside. This area is a necessary buffer between the town and the nature reserve at Habberley Valley, being home to many species of birds and bats who have already been displaced due to man.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Richborough Estates wants to build 130 new homes on green belt land off Habberley RoadRichborough Estates wants to build 130 new homes on green belt land off Habberley Road

“Being a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, I feel most strongly about the protection of this area considering that many brownfield sites still exist.”

Fellow resident Sherry Stephens said roads in the area would be unable to cope with the rise in population.

“The island at the corner of this development cannot cope with the amount of traffic now and there are numerous accidents,” she said. “It is a very busy road and any heavy lorries pulling in and out of the field all day for months is very concerning and will be hard for local residents who are directly in front of this field.”

Trimpley Drive resident Janine Crockett added: “We are worried about the way the proposed plans are being rushed through without allowing residents to air their concerns.

“130 properties is far too much, though we would rather have none at all. There is no infrastructure in Kidderminster to support so many possible extra people and cars, on top of the already planned developments... the roads cannot take the traffic, [there is] not enough public transport, not enough schools, not enough surgeries, not enough jobs, meaning more travel to Worcester and Birmingham, more traffic and more carbon emissions. The disruption to a precious open space with beautiful views and outlook will be destroyed for ever.”

Kidderminster Shuttle: Richborough Estates wants to build 130 new homes on green belt land off Habberley RoadRichborough Estates wants to build 130 new homes on green belt land off Habberley Road

Richborough Estates said it was “listening to the local community” and said the plans represented a “significant investment in Kidderminster at a time of economic uncertainty”.

A spokesman said: “Richborough Estates is preparing an outline planning application, which aligns with Wyre Forest District Council’s emerging Local Plan.

"The proposals are for up to 130 new homes, with 25 per cent of them being much-needed affordable homes, which will help meet local housing needs. We believe the application represents a significant investment in Kidderminster at a time of economic uncertainty.

“Even at this early application stage, we are working with the council and listening to the local community to ensure the proposed development is sensitively designed to complement, and sit well between, the green belt on one side and the western edges of Kidderminster and the Hollyfields care home on its other three sides.

“The surrounding hedgerows and mature trees are only being disturbed to enable pedestrian and vehicle access to the site, which will include 40 per cent publicly accessible green open space and new planting to ensure there is a net gain in biodiversity once the development is completed. An Ecological Assessment will be submitted with the application for both the council and the public to consider.

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“Financial contributions are being agreed with the council to support local health, education and recreational services; and, following conversations with Worcestershire County Council, we will submit a Transport Assessment as part of the outline planning application, which will detail measures to make the existing roundabout and other nearby crossings safer for pedestrians and cyclists, including reducing the speed limit in front of the development on Habberley Road to 30mph.”

Councillor Helen Dyke, Wyre Forest District Council’s deputy leader, said: “This all part of the Local Plan process. The land has been included in the submitted version of the Local Plan which the Inspector has just conducted hearings on.

“Residents have had four consultation periods to have their say, most recently in 2019 from September 2 to October 14, and will have the chance to comment on any future planning applications.”

For more information on the plans, visit