The future for Kenilworth’s schools, sports clubs and houses are all hanging in the balance after the Local Plan was rejected.
Warwick District Council’s draft plan was rejected by the planning inspector for falling short of required housing numbers.
The problem is the domino effect this will have. The plans are all connected, pieces fit like a jigsawCllr Andrew Mobbs
The council has appealed to the Secretary of State to overrule the decision but if that fails it means turmoil for carefully planned “jigsaw” developments across the town.
Kenilworth School and Sixth Form was set to merge on one new site off Birches Lane to address funding cuts which have left them unable to fund pupils across two sites.
The Rouncil Lane and Leyes Lane land would be sold off for houses to fund the move, with the Local Plan allowing the new school to be built on green belt land.
Kenilworth Rugby Club’s planned move to a larger site would be scuppered, as would plans for Kenilworth Wardens Cricket Club’s move to Castle Farm.
Under the plan, both clubs’ current locations and land at Thickthorn would have been redeveloped for housing and a new primary school.
A statement from Kenilworth RFC said: “This decision will inevitably mean a delay in the sale of our grounds and the move to a new ground.
“We are meeting with our advisors shortly to decide what our best course of action is from here in order to minimise any delay.”
Kenilworth School head teacher, Hayden Abbott, said they were committed to progressing with a merger.
“Despite the rejection of the plan and likely delay in decisions on housing and green belt sites, the school will continue to address the need for a move to one site,” he said.
“The school has managed its finances effectively but we must review our site options.”
Kenilworth was set for 1,230 houses including 700 at Thickthorn.
If the decision is upheld, the council would have to redraft the whole Local Plan, setting it back two years.
Council leader, Andrew Mobbs said “nothing could be ruled out” in terms of sites for more homes -meaning previously rejected land at Kings Hill could be back on the table.
“The problem is the domino effect this will have. The plans are all connected, pieces fit like a jigsaw,” he said.
“We have to look at all options and go back to the drawing board if we do not get the decision we hope for from the Secretary of State.”