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The proposed £70 million sports complex at Hindlip is probably “too good to be true” says the local MP Peter Luff. He fears it will create real problems for local people, bring little if any local benefit and can’t be afforded.
Commenting, Peter said,

“I challenge the promoters of the scheme to publish their detailed business plan showing exactly where the money is going to come from. Specifically they must come clean about exactly how many thousands of houses would be built in the Fernhill Heath and Martin Hussingtree area to balance the scheme’s books.”

He explained,

“This is a massive scheme that would change the area of this part of Worcestershire out of all recognition – and it’s not even clear it would bring any significant local benefits as the centre seems largely to be a centre of excellence for regional and even national athletes. I’m not saying the country doesn’t need better sporting facilities but I am totally unconvinced this is the right place for such an ambitious venture.

“I calculate that the promoters will need to build at least 3,500 houses to pay for it – probably many more – and they’ve amassed the land options around Fernhill Heath to do precisely that. That’s why the promoters have to offer a new school, a new station and a Fernhill Heath by-pass – and they are all going to cost a fortune too.

“The new houses south Worcestershire needs should be decided on by local communities in a democratic manner reflecting real local need – they should not be imposed on us by promoters of huge business ventures like this.

“With the houses built, the promoters would be under no obligation to build this sports complex anyhow. In the current financial climate, with banks reluctant to lend and huge pressure on the public finances, I just don’t think this scheme can be delivered. We could end up with a massive increase in the size of Fernhill Heath and no sports centre.

“And then there are the other local consequences. For example the massive pressure on junction 6 of the M5. It’s already chaos on match days at Sixways – imaging what would happen if there was heavy use of the sports complex on the same day.

“And isn’t Worcestershire Parkway the real priority for a new station in the area, a station that would provide north-south and east-west rail links? Isn’t that the station that any new houses should be paying for?

Peter will be getting in touch with the two parish councils - for North Claines and Hindlip, Martin Hussingtree and Salwarpe - and the area’s district and county councillors to establish local views. He added,

“I welcome the initiative of district councillors Alan Fisher and Tony Miller to challenge the promoters to a local public meeting. This is not an idea that should have its first airing in a prestigious exhibition in Worcester Cathedral – it is the local people directly affected who should have been the first to be consulted.

“This may be an imaginative idea – but my strong instinct is that the interests of Worcestershire would be best served if it stayed that way – imaginary.”


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