COUNCILLORS in Upton are standing firm behind a bid to build a new housing estate on the edge of the town, despite objections from local residents.

Members of Upton Town Council say the town needs affordable housing and that the two-hectare site in Tunnel Hill is the best place for it to go.

They have been working with developer MG Property to produce proposals for 43 homes, 22 of them affordable, at Milestone Farm, off Welland Road, in Tunnel Hill.

But about 30 local residents turned up to show their opposition when the council discussed the planning application.

They voiced fears over traffic and access problems, developing green land, whether there was a need for housing and asked if alternate sites in the town centre would now be available following the completion of the new flood defences.

More than 20 letters of objection have been submitted to Malvern Hills District Council, which has to decide whether to allow the development.

Steve Church, of Mulberry Drive, said: “The road is already dangerous, especially during peak periods.

To add another junction and increase traffic opposite this already congested area would only exacerbate the problem.”

He said he felt the town council was trying to rush through the plans without the due consideration required for a development of this scale. “Smaller pockets of development around the town would surely be a more suitable way forward, resulting in a less dramatic impact for local residents,”

he added.

Martin Boulter, of Monsell Lane, believes the site represents “the easy option”.

“It is too easy to just allow our pristine agricultural land to be swallowed up for housing, as opposed to working to resolve difficulties that brownfield sites represent,”

he said.

The town council, however, is backing the proposals.

Coun Paul Bennett, a member of its affordable housing working group, said: “We are confident this is the right scheme in the right place.

“We wanted to make sure that what was being proposed for our town was for genuine local need and not for some nebulous need that had not been justified.”

He said any areas of land that the flood defences had made available would be too small for the housing need and that all possible alternate sites had been investigated.

“The planning situation is that if we do not take charge of the situation ourselves then housing companies will come along and do it for us,”

he said. “We fought long and hard to take control of this because otherwise it would have been far worse and we would have been facing hundreds of new houses all around the town.”