Town to have say on a £250,000 flooding study

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A FEASIBILITY study into the practicalities of reflooding Kenilworth Castle’s grounds could go ahead in the New Year if it gets public support - but at a huge cost of £250,000 for the district council.

Ambitious plans to recreate the mere as it would have looked in the 13th Century have been discussed around the town for over 20 years.

A detailed study into the practicalities was even completed by business students at the University of Warwick ton behalf of the town and found the best way to bring in revenue could be to include a hotel or leisure complex.

And the grand ideas could now finally become reality and be included in the district’s Local Plan which sets out projects for the future.

Members of Warwick District Council debated the idea of running with the quarter of a million pound feasibility study at Wednesday’s meeting, and the question will now go out to the town to gauge public support before a decision is made in January.

Speaking at executive meeting, Cllr Jane Knight, who sits on the finance and audit scrutiny committee described the study as a “very expensive one” but Cllr Michael Coker said the “vast project” could bring in a “great deal of trade” for Kenilworth.

“One has to think beyond just the mere,” he said.

“A student study made it apparent that it’s only worthwhile if you start thinking in terms of a very large nature park, coupled with a hotel. So it’s not just a project for flooding the area.

“If you embark upon that, one would have to be very careful and there would need to be a very careful approach, one would know what would be on offer from outside.”

He suggested the move may only be practical with a third party on board to contribute to the costs -which have been estimated at around £16million in total.

Cllr Norman Vincett: said it was “a vision coming forward” and urged for the study to have serious consideration.

“It seems like a lot of money and it could be money wasted,” he said.

“But it’s worthwhile ensuring that it’s feasible. We happen to believe that it’s a viable programme.”

A Liberal Democrat opinion leaflet was delivered to around 6,000 homes in the town.

County councillor John Whitehouse said there have been around 60 responses, of which “80 to 90 percent” were against the plans.

“In context of the current public sector cuts this is very hard to swallow,” he said.