Group ‘more determined than ever’ to challenge recently approved Local Plan

An earlier protest over the plan on the Kenilworth Coventry border
An earlier protest over the plan on the Kenilworth Coventry border

Opponents to the recently-approved Local Plan are ‘more determined than ever’ to challenge the decision in the courts.

Warwick district’s Local Plan was formally adopted at a council meeting on Wednesday, September 20, and will bring 13,000 new homes to the area by 2029. Some of the developments are designed to meet housing need in Coventry.

A lot of development will take place to the north of Kenilworth near Burton Green – 1,800 homes will be built on Kings Hill which could later rise to 4,000, and 425 will be built in Westwood Heath.

But research from Keresley resident Merle Gering suggests that the projected population growth for Coventry was based on false statistics, meaning the housing need could be far less than first thought.

Because of this, Cllr Archie Taylor, leader of Burton Green Parish Council, announced a consortium of parish councils and groups will contest the decision with a judicial review.

When the plan was approved last week, he remained committed to challenging the decision.

He said: “We were not disappointed at what happened at the meeting because we had no expectations of success.

“Secondly, it was quite clear that the south of the district want houses in the Kenilworth area, and they don’t care whatsoever if Kenilworth and Coventry are joined up.

“This is not just a Warwick district plan, it’s a Coventry and Warwick district plan. They know that the stats are wrong on the population.

“We’re more determined than ever to launch our judicial review. We feel the district shouldn’t have too much confidence in their case.”

Every councillor present at the meeting voted the plan through.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Andrew Thompson (Con, Newbold), one of only two councillors aged under 30, spoke of the great need to build houses to help younger people get on the property ladder. He said: “The prospects of me buying my own house any time soon are very slim and the worrying thing is I’m not unique in this – many people of my age are in the same boat.

“Housing is the biggest problem facing my generation, with living standards regressing and many children of the 1990s having horror stories about bad landlords.

“Growing house prices are making owning a home unaffordable for many and this also pushes up the rental prices.

“We all know what a great place Warwick district is and it makes it more attractive for people to live and work here as the economy continues to grow.”

Cllr Taylor understood Cllr Thompson’s concerns, but thought the affordable housing aspect of the Local Plan would not actually help young people.

He added: “We sympathise desperately with the young person who can’t buy a house.

“But affordable houses aren’t fully affordable to ordinary people and young couples.

“We need to build the right houses.”