Could new proposal alter plans for homes near town?

Big changes to Kenilworth may be on the way under the Local Plan after a last minute proposal to build up to 5,000 homes near Stoneleigh came in from Coventry councillors.

Coventry City Council has offered up just under 190 acres of land at Kings Hill to the district council for housing.

Although owned by the city council, the land near to the University of Warwick lies within Warwickshire’s boundary and could be used for up to 5,000 houses in the Local Plan.

The council wrote to Warwick District Council offering up the land after Lynnette Kelly, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Leamington and Warwick and a Coventry City councillor, highlighted the option as having potential to create “fairer distribution” of housing and alleviate pressure on Leamington and Warwick.

A statement by leader of CCC, Ann Lucas said: “At this stage Coventry City Council has simply informed Warwick District Council it would be willing to sell this land for housing development.

“This could provide more than £25million in capital receipts, and could provide between 3,500 and 5,000 much-needed homes .”

The city council owns around a third of the land near Stoneleigh which includes Greenbelt, Wainbody Woods and forms the gap between Coventry and Kenilworth.

And despite the proposal only being made days ago, objection has already been raised by residents on the other side of the border at Finham who do not want houses encroaching on open countryside.

City councillor John Blundell, whose ward lies north of the proposed site said: “People in Finham and along Green Lane are not happy about the idea of closing that gap.

“It is causing a lot of speculation, but until the district council responds we don’t know how it will be received.”

Warwick District Council is yet to receive formal notice of the proposal and has made no comment.

Cllr Andrew Mobbs (Con), leader of WDC, said: “I am aware of the political statement which has been made in relation to Kings Hill, but I am yet to have any formal information on this from the city council and so cannot yet comment,” he said.

The district’s draft Local Plan is out for consultation over minor changes and planning issues until June 27.

Speculation in Kenilworth is that with the long-awaited and contentious draft already approved by the council, it is not thought that such major changes would be accepted at such a late stage. As the land at Kings Hill is protected Greenbelt countryside special measures would need to be put forward to justify building.

There may also be stipulations that as Greenbelt, the space could only take houses already earmarked for Greenbelt sites - which would not necessarily alleviate numbers from Warwick as planned.