Hundreds of homes for historic land

Evesham Journal: An image in the documents displayed at the recent public exhibition An image in the documents displayed at the recent public exhibition

HUNDREDS of homes could be built on land in the heart of Evesham where the Virgin Mary is said to have once appeared after a developer unveiled plans for the ancient site.

A public exhibition held at the town hall on Monday displayed provisional proposals by developers Hallam Land Management for up to 450 homes on land off Abbey Road.

The site, to both the east and west of Abbey Road, includes the historic town centre asparagus fields which run towards Crown Meadow and are not included in the emerging South Worcestershire Development Plans.

It is also where the vision of the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a herdsman named Eof and then to St Egwin, leading him to found Evesham Abbey between 700 and 710 AD.

Colin Merriman, of Cheltenham Road, who formed campaign group Keep Evesham Green to fight development on the site during the consultation period for the SWDP, said the group may meet up again to discuss what they could to oppose the development.

"We may meet to see what we can do but we are wholly powerless, that's the way it's gone and there's always pressure to get the numbers up, especially when the inspector for the SWDP said we need more homes.

"150 people objected to this site. The only one in favour was Hallam Land Management, it made me sick to my stomach to read the propositions.

"It's David and Goliath but David will lose this time."

Mayor Mark Goodge, who also attended the exhibition, said while he couldn't comment on the plans particularly at this stage he was not against appropriate developments on parts of the site.

"These proposals are purely speculative so I can't comment on them in particular.

"But as for the general principle of development on that site, I wouldn't be completely opposed to limited development as long as it's appropriate."

As part of the proposals, which have not yet been submitted to the planning authority Wychavon District Council, there will also be employment land, mixed use development land, open and recreation space and provision for a care home.

Hallam Land Management also stated at the exhibition the plans would feature new leisure routes and streets designed for journeys on foot and by bicycle including the linking of Corporation Meadows to Boat Lane with extra public and recreation space, they would maintain the vistas from Abbey Road to the river, protect and enhance the scheduled ancient monument, retain trees and ensure the proposed development is not at risk from flooding.

Hallam Land Management were not available to comment.

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