‘MYSTIFIED’ residents are disappointed a new business strategy for St Mary’s Lands in Warwick has been approved.
Councillors recently approved recommendations for a new masterplan – despite a 1,200 strong opposing petition handed in by community group Friends of St Mary’s Lands.
The petition – which will still trigger a debate – called for Warwick District Council (WDC) to honour its earlier commitments that future developments would not reduce the land available for public use or impact on the open nature of the area.
The new proposed plans – which will be discussed at a full council meeting on November 19 – include digging up a protected wildlife site and relocating it to another area and doubling the size of the existing caravan park in the centre of the racecourse.
There will also be an expansion to the golf club and £50,000 given to the Warwick Corps of Drums to improve its headquarters.
If the recommendations are adopted it will also mean plans to work with the owners of Warwick Racecourse, the Jockey Club, will not go ahead. The Jockey Club recently dropped controversial plans for a hotel on the course after ending flat racing at Warwick and a backlash from residents.
But Friends of St Mary’s Lands say the developments suggested for the common were not needed and had already hit public access, with areas recently reported to have been cordoned off, causing concern for residents.
Chairman Nigel Hamilton said: “We are very disappointed the council approved a new business strategy report despite our petition against yet more development on the remaining open space.
“According to district council accounts, the land makes an annual income of around £100,000 a year, so we are mystified at the justification for more development.”
The group formed earlier this year to protect the common – used mainly by dog walkers – from development and continue its free public use.
A spokeswoman from Warwick District Council said: “As we continue to work closely with stakeholders and develop detailed businesses cases we take such comments, like those of the scrutiny committee, on board.”