Kenilworth Wardens and council to start talks over buying club's land for Castle Farm move
Talks are set to begin between Kenilworth Wardens Cricket Club and Warwick District Council over the purchase of the land the club uses to allow it to move to Castle Farm.
At a meeting on Thursday May 31, the district council's executive agreed to start negotiations with Kenilworth Wardens over buying the land.
The council wants to buy the land leased by the club and owned by Stoneleigh Estates, as it currently is part of a bigger site off Thickthorn Island which has been identified in the council's Local Plan for 760 new homes.
If the land is bought by the council, the building of those homes is much more likely.
Additionally, if the land purchase is agreed, the council could give Wardens up to Â£400,000 from its reserves to submit a planning application to move to Castle Farm.
The council would also provide all the up-front funding to develop and expand Castle Farm - which could be up to Â£7 million. Wardens cannot afford the move by themselves.
The planned move has been controversial. A group of residents leaving near to Castle Farm called 'Castle Farm Kenilworth Neighbours' was concerned the expansion could result in major traffic problems. They were also concerned about whether the public would still be able to access the land.
A spokesman for Castle Farm Kenilworth Neighbours said it was still concerned about the move following the executive's decision, but was still uncertain about the detail of the plan. He said the group is still waiting for the planning application which will spell out what is planned.
He said: "We want to reiterate our concerns over this. Nobody has told us anything, which is a shame.
"Nobody's got anything against the Wardens - we just think there's a lot of car-related issues. These roads (such as John O'Gaunt Road and Fishponds Road) built in the 50s and 60s were never designed for all this traffic."
Warwick District Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for culture, Cllr Michael Coker, said: "Warwick District Council is considering the purchase of the Wardens land as they need to sell their land in order to move and finance their new sports facilities.
"Likewise, the council needs them to vacate their site in order to allow for the future development of the land as defined in its Local Plan.
"This move will therefore be mutually and commercially beneficial, and the council’s assistance also will allow for carefully planned developments which will be of benefit to the whole town.”
Kenilworth Wardens have been approached for comment.