Kenilworth says 'yes' to Neighbourhood Plan

Kenilworth has voted 'yes' to the Neighbourhood Plan
Kenilworth has voted 'yes' to the Neighbourhood Plan

Kenilworth residents voted 'yes' to the town council's Neighbourhood Plan in yesterday's referendum.

Residents were asked 'Do you want Warwick District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Kenilworth to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?' on the voting slip.

And out of 5,092 people that voted, 4,757 voted yes (93.4 per cent) against the 319 (6.3 per cent) who voted no. 16 ballots were spoilt. The turnout was 28.5 per cent.

The plan was officially adopted by Warwick District Council today (Friday November 16).

Town councillor George Illingworth, who has led the formation of the Neighbourhood Plan, said: "I'm pleased and relieved as well. It's been a real long haul.

"We thought the turnout would be around 20 per cent. To get the turnout we did is significant.

"The people of the town have voted positively and clearly for this - not like another referendum which has caused all sorts of difficulties."

Now the plan has been adopted, it will give the town more control over the thousands of homes already coming.

Housing developers will have to follow its policies or risk their projects being denied planning permission.

It also means more money from housing developers will go back into the town rather than purely into Warwick district.

Kenilworth Town Council's leader Cllr John Cooke, who also chairs Warwick District Council's planning committee, said: "I'm delighted with the result. I was expecting it to be pretty clear. When you look at the question I think it would be difficult to put no.

"People did ask who wrote the question - it's a government-worded question which is standard for all Neighbourhood Plan votes.

"Up until this point Kenilworth has had no say. As chairman of the planning committee I'm interested to see how the Neighbourhood Plan will work out."

The Neighbourhood Plan will now sit alongside Warwick district's Local Plan, which is already bringing thousands of homes to Kenilworth.

It cannot stop the homes from coming, but can mitigate the possible harm the new homes might cause.

Some of the key policies in the Neighbourhood Plan include supporting 20mph speed limits at new developments, supporting a two-storey car park in Square West or Abbey End as long as electric charging points and bike parking are included, and support for prioritising pedestrians and cyclists on new or changed roads.

The Neighbourhood Plan also aims to make sure Castle Farm remains accessible to the public when the leisure centre is changed and Kenilworth Wardens move there, as well as ensuring nearby roads can accommodate predicted traffic increases.

And its adoption means more of the Community Infrastructure Levy, which landowners or developers have to pay to Warwickshire County Council when a large new development is built, would go back into Kenilworth.