Key issues facing Kenilworth's Abbey Ward

Cllr Michael Coker (left) and Cllr John Cooke (right)
Cllr Michael Coker (left) and Cllr John Cooke (right)

With the recent elections bringing 13 new councillors to the Kenilworth Town Council the Kenilworth Weekly News will be profiling each of the town’s five wards and the councillors within each one.

Readers can learn about each councillor and the key issues they believe face their ward.

We started (alphabetically) with the Abbey Ward.

After a re-structuring of the wards in town Abbey Ward now only has two councillors, who include Cllrs Michael Coker and John Cooke.

Cllr Coker, who has served as a town councillor for 42 years, retired 12 years ago from serving as a county coroner for 25 years. He also worked as a solicitor for 50 years before retirement.

He said the major issues facing Abbey Ward are the key issues facing the town as a whole.

Cllr Coker added: “I think as far as the ward is concerned Kenilworth is getting larger and most things affect the whole town. Obviously the major factors for the future are the neighbourhood plan and the development of east Kenilworth.

“The other factor of course, which affects Abbey is the impact of HS2. The construction period is something we’ve got to be very careful about. All the stuff that goes with it because obviously there’s going to be congestion.

“Most of the issues impact the whole town. The effect for instance of increase of population and traffic are bound to impact us all.”

In contract Cllr Cooke said the key issue facing Abbey Ward is safety and speeding motorists. Cllr Cooke, who works as a photographer, served on the town council for 12 years from 1979 to 1991 and then served again from 2011 to his present term. He has served as mayor twice.

Cllr Cooke said: “Abbey Ward is not a huge area. There is an issue of people speeding coming in off the Birmingham Road. They come in on Clinton Lane.

“Speeding has been an issue since I was first elected to the council in 1979.”

He also said speeding is an issue on Beehive Hill near St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School.

Cllr Cooke called general safety in the area around Priors Field Primary School in Clinton Lane a key issue too. A puffin pedestrian crossing was recently completed in Clinton Lane.

He added: “I’m not sure that will actually help slow people down.

“There are all sorts of warning signs, but the truth is motorists don’t take much notice of speed signs.”