PLANS outlining where new homes will be built in Wyre Forest have been given the green light by councillors.

At a special full council meeting last night, Wyre Forest District Council agreed to submit their draft Local Plan to Government, despite accusations from public speakers that the consultation was a "sham".

The Plan pledges to deliver more than 6,000 new houses between 2016 and 2036 plus 29 hectares of employment land, with planned sites including Pearl Lane at Areley Kings, Coniston Crescent and Steatite Way in Stourport, and Carpets of Worth in Kidderminster.

After reopening for public consultation, land at Yew Tree Walk was removed as an allocated site for housing, while Green Belt land at Blakedown was added for additional railway station car parking and new homes.

Blakedown villagers spoke out against the Plan at Thursday's meeting, having previously raised concerns over the potential safety issues caused by increased congestion around the railway station.

Sue Fowler, a resident of Blakedown for more than 30 years, said: "I spoke at an Overview and Scrutiny meeting a fortnight ago of the dramatic and detrimental effect the development of a station car park 26 times the size of the current free provision, together with a large scale housing development, will have on Blakedown as a village.

"I also tried to open a route to compromise between Wyre Forest [District Council] and Blakedown residents. As this term is clearly not understood, that door remains shut.

"It is therefore apparent that the consultation of autumn 2019 was a sham."

But Councillor Fran Oborski, who is cabinet member for planning, said the time had passed to deliberate the sites included in the Plan.

She said: "None of us want to see any more development of the Green Belt than is absolutely necessary, but we must ensure we maintain our supply of new housing, otherwise we run risk of not maintaining our five-year land supply and falling short of the housing delivery test - either of which could undermine the value of the Plan and expose the whole district to unwanted development."

Cllr Nicky Martin said the latest housing need study stated there was significant need for affordable homes in the district.

Speaking on behalf of the Conservative Group, Cllr Marcus Hart said his party could not support the Plan because they were "not persuaded that it is sound".

He argued the housing figure which underpinned the Plan should have been revised from 276 to 248 - meaning less development of the Green Belt would be required.

However, the Conservatives were outvoted and the council agreed to sign off on the document, paving the way for it to be submitted to the Secretary of State in April.

The Government will then appoint a Planning Inspector to oversee a public examination to determine whether the plan is sound, which will include holding a series of formal hearings later this year to hear representations from groups and individuals who have put forward objections to the Plan.

The hearings will be open to the public to observe and will be advertised nearer the time, once a date is set by the Inspector.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Oborski said: "This is a major milestone in getting the Plan adopted, which is one of our key priorities.

“The Local Plan will provide a clear direction for future development, creating the right balance between protecting those parts of the district that are important in spatial or heritage terms while accommodating growth to meet the housing needs of present and future residents and space for businesses to ensure that we are a prosperous district going forward.”