New plans for travellers' site on car boot field at Ketch

January 04 2022

Plans for a permanent 10-pitch travellers’ site on the Ketch car boot field in Broomhall Way have been submitted to Worcester City Council.

The change of use application includes stationing caravans for residential purposes, with a dayroom for each pitch plus associated parking, landscaping, engineering and infrastructure works.

The application has been submitted by the field’s owner, Roger Lethem.

His previous plans for the site to be developed for travellers have been rejected by the city council over concerns about the speed of vehicles using the A4440 Southern Link Road, which would be accessed and exited by vehicles from the site.

St Peter’s resident, John Renshaw, who is also a member of St Peter’s Parish Council, said: “I was astonished to see that another planning proposal to provide 10 permanent travellers’ pitches on land adjacent to the A4440 Broomhall Way has been received by Worcester City Council.”

He added that the city council, together with Wychavon District Council and Malvern Hills District Council, had agreed early in 2021 that just two travellers’ pitches were required for Worcester rather than the 10 in the latest planning application.

He went on: “This application for 10 pitches within the boundaries of Worcester city is, therefore, five times the projected need.

“Plans for new travellers’ sites across South Worcestershire were put forward in January, 2021 but did not include any locations in Worcester city itself.

“In addition, traffic entering and exiting the proposed site would be doing so from the A4440, a busy duel carriageway, on which the speed limit is 60mph and, as many local residents know, has more than its fair share of speeding motorists who treat that stretch of road like a race track.

“This has the potential to become an accident blackspot.

“ When the landowner put forward this site for consideration as a travellers' site in 2020 city council officers completed a detailed appraisal of the site and rejected it for precisely this reason.”

He concluded: “As there has been no material change in either the expected demand for travellers’ pitches in the coming years or in the unsuitable nature of the proposed site I register my objection and I expect Worcester City Planning Committee to reject this application when it is considered.”

Steve Mackay, who represents St Peter’s as a Conservative member of Worcester City Council, said:  “Within the application much is said about the difficult access to the site, with vehicles having to slow on a dual carriageway to enter.

“There is a proposal to use a slip road from the land on the left of the roadway but, from my perspective, what isn’t addressed is how any vehicles get off the site, entering the dual carriageway.

“There are three lanes at that point with the roundabout close by.

“Should drivers from the site wish to go towards the motorway they would have to negotiate all lanes to get into the correct one to go around the roundabout.

“With the speed of traffic as it is, albeit slowing, that would be unacceptable and I believe a danger to all concerned.” 

Residents had until the end of December to register their comments on the proposals.