Local Plan for Warwick district will go ahead despite calls for houses to be removed

Warwick District Local Plan Modifications 2016
Warwick District Local Plan Modifications 2016

Modified plans for thousands of new houses in the Warwick District will move forward despite attempts to remove certain developments from them.

On Wednesday evening, Warwick District Council members voted by a large majority in favour of supporting the revised Local Plan, which now includes 17,000 homes to be built by 2029, and help meet Coventry’s housing shortfall.

The original plan, which would have provided almost 13,000 new homes, was deemed unsound by a planning inspector last year mainly due to this figure being considered insufficient.

Amendments put forward by the district’s Labour group and the independent Whitnash Residents Association, which involved removing houses from the modified plan, were rejected.

Putting forward the Labour amendment, which included removing 560 houses across the already affected areas in Gallows Hill, East Whitnash, Hazelmere and Little Acre in Whitnash and south of Harbury Lane, Labour group leader Cllr John Barrott said his group’s concerns over infrastructure funding for the original Local Plan had now resurfaced due to the extra houses being added and that residents in those areas to the south of Leamington and Warwick, where the majority of the houses will be built, now say “enough is enough”.

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Conservative councillor Moira-Ann Grainger (Warwick South) said she had sympathy for all those councillors whose wards will be affected by the plan, which she has described as a “horrible and hateful thing”.

But she emphasised the need for the plan to be pushed forward. She said: “Any fiddling with figures tonight will jeopardise our plan in two ways - firstly it could show that we have not provided the right numbers full stop, but we also remove the justification for going into the green belt, which will mean we have to find more sites outside of it and eventually Bishops Tachbrook could be subsumed.

*** After the meeting on Wednesday, district council leader Cllr Andrew Mobbs said: “I am pleased that Council approved our Local Plan submission on Wednesday.

“I have not used the word delighted because the contents of the plan have raised fears and concerns of residents which I fully appreciate.

“I have received many emails expressing support for the housing numbers to address the significant issues that many people face through lack of access to sufficient or affordable housing.

“Many others have expressed concern regarding infrastructure and specifically the ability of the current road network to cope with the increased housing.

“I understand those concerns and I can confirm that this Council will work with all of the responsible agencies, such as the County Council, so that an improved transport network can be put in place.

“We are also working closely with other partner organisations to address all aspects of our plan and it is an ongoing process which will ensure that our “ garden suburb “ additions will enhance and not reduce the advantages of our wonderful District.

“Making any decision on the Local Plan involves taking hard decisions and I know many will not be pleased with the outcome.

“However, there is no doubt that we have to submit a robust plan to the Inspector.

Anything less will lead to intervention by government and developers having the ability to build on unwanted sites.

“The recent approvals at The Asps and Gallows Hill prove this point.

“As Councillors we all have a duty to to make a decision that is in the best interests of our District.

“This holistic view overrides our individual ward concerns.”