Forum supports more shops in Leyes Lane, Kenilworth
A community planning forum, which aims to find out what facilities local people want, says three proposed retail units in Leyes Lane would fulfil a number of needs expressed by Knights Meadow residents.
Kenilworth's Planning for Real organisation says the proposals, submitted by the Midland Assured Group which owns the Leyes Lane retail parade, will meet a variety of community requirements.
The Planning for Real exercise, part of a national community consultation process designed by charity the Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation, has been run for the past 18 months by Knights Meadow church whose members meet at Kenilworth School.
The organisers say the outcome of a series of meetings for residents held between December 2007 and May 2008 offers some insight into the kind of facilities which could be provided in the area if planners give the three 1,000 sq ft units the go ahead.
These include a greengrocer or community shop selling allotment produce, health and counselling facilities and a caf.
The report, sent to Midland Assured director Simon Davis in response to a story about the plans in the Weekly News, said: "On the face of it the development is to be welcomed as it runs counter to the widespread contraction of local shopping facilities that has caused concern among many people.
"It appeared to us that the Planning for Real results might offer ideas about what facilities could be located there to meet some of the needs that have been identified in the exercise."
Residents attending any of the six meetings held at the Knights Meadow church, The Tiltyard pub, Kenilworth School and the Wardens Cricket Club were asked to use and annotate flags on a model of the area to show where certain facilities could be provided or where problems could be addressed.
These covered topics such as community facilities, work and education, and health and the local environment.
Of the 200 flags placed in the Leyes Lane area the highest single requirement – with 13 votes - was for a greengrocer or community enterprise selling allotment produce.
Four wanted a community caf and three a chemist.
Eight flags referred to health facilities with four wanting a GP surgery and one an NHS dentist.
Thirty-two flags wanted community facilities including a library, a suite of counselling services, family planning, smoking cessation support and parenting classes.
The report concluded that the Planning for Real results suggest that many people see Leyes Lane shops and the surrounding area as a natural focus for south-east Kenilworth.
Many would like to see additional shops or some new community facilities there.
Midland Assured director Simon Davis added: "We recognise that the Leyes Lane parade acts as a community focal point. It is clear from the outcome of this consultation exercise that it could well benefit from new facilities and this is why we're keen to enhance the current offering.
"We already have Assura pharmacy interested in taking one of the units. As the government is keen for pharmacists to deal with more day-to day-health issues this would address many of the health points raised.”
The plans will be determined by Warwick District Council in mid February.
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