THE Cotswold village of Beckford is campaigning against a proposed retirement village.

More than 200 people have already signed a petition and some 100 of the 250 local residents packed a campaign meeting last week to oppose the proposal by English Care Villages.

The plan for 145 new retirement apartments and associated facilities will ‘dwarf’ the village according to speakers at the meeting.

Planning permission for the development proposed for the former Poultry Unit and land north of Carrant Brook Farm in Ashton Road was refused in September 2016 by Wychavon District Council.

The rejection was on the grounds of 14 breaches of planning policies and seven breaches of policies relating to Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Now English Care Villages has lodged an appeal against the decision.

Worcestershire County Councillor Adrian Hardman attended the meeting to give support to the campaign along with Beckford Parish Councillors.

A note of support was also provided from Wychavon District Councillor Adrian Darby who spoke against English Care Villages at the appeal.

Beckford Future is a group of local residents leading the campaign against the retirement village and they will be attending the Appeal along with a large number of villagers.

Campaign spokesman Bob Harrington, who has lived in Beckford for 25 years, said: “Beckford is a very small village that dates back hundreds of years. We are not insular by any means and welcome balanced development that adds value and also attracts a younger audience into the village. But the sheer size and design of this development is inappropriate for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and existing local facilities will be unable to sustain such an influx of people.”

Councillor Darby, Wychavon’s Natural Heritage Champion, said: “The appellants make a great deal of the enhancements to natural habitats which they are intending to make, but I consider these as largely window dressing and of limited benefit.

"They are intending to provide small quantities of woodland, reedbed, orchard and meadow. All of these things are good but will take many years to achieve their principal wildlife value.

“They also make elaborate plans to prevent disturbance of otter during the construction phase but do not consider how much disturbance there will be along the Carrant when the Village is completed and occupied.”