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20th Jun, 2021

Claims thousands of surplus homes could be built in Warwick district

CLAIMS have been made 4,000 surplus homes could be built in Warwick district over the next eight years.

Warwick District Council’s local plan outlines the need for 16,776 homes – or 923 homes every year until 2029.

But analysis compiled by former council planner and architect of 40 years, Ray Bullen, suggests up to 20,320 new properties will be delivered in the same time frame.

He says some 300 of the 923 homes to be built in the district every year cater for Coventry’s housing need.

But Mr Bullen claims if 2018 Office of National Statistic (ONS) projections are considered for Coventry, around 5,000 fewer overspill homes are needed in surrounding areas, including Warwick District.

And research by Coventry’s Keep Our Green Belt Green group claims the city’s housing need could be less than half that outlined in its Local Plan and ONS figures– mainly due to a failure to account for departing students.

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western is calling for the Warwick district local plan to be altered to reflect the housing need.

He said: “Due to a reliance on potentially inaccurate calculations, many more homes could be built per year than are needed in our district.

“The implications of this overdevelopment are wide-reaching and affect the lives of thousands of residents.

“For example, hundreds of Sydenham residents are threatened by the creation of the East Whitnash 200-home giant cul-de-sac – which will cause traffic, road safety and air quality concerns.

“If these figures are not revised at least in line with more recent ONS data, but preferably in line with figures Mr Bullen and other campaigners have revealed, developers will continue to build unsustainable developments carte blanche.

“Neighbourhoods will be irreparably changed, and green belt will be forever lost.”

A district council spokeswoman said: “The annual housing requirement figure is made up of two elements – 600 homes to meet Warwick District’s housing need and 332 to meet the housing needs of Coventry. This approach, and this housing split, was fully and extensively debated at a public inquiry before the current plan was adopted and was supported by the independent inspector in allowing the council to adopt the plan.

“In terms of the extent to which Warwick District will continue to meet the housing needs of Coventry in the future, this is currently 332 per year however will be reviewed as part of the review of Warwick District’s local plan. This review has just begun and is taking place jointly with Stratford District Council as part of a single South Warwickshire local plan.

“There is a government requirement for local plans to take account of the housing needs of surrounding areas and agree how unmet needs can be met and the council needs to continue to do this.

“While these discussions have not taken place yet, it should be noted that while the revisions to the government’s standard methodology proposed broadly similar figures for housing needs in Warwick district, they propose significantly higher figures for Coventry city – the 2017 standard methodology proposed 1,722 homes per year for Coventry and this has increased to 2,325 in 2020.

“Unless the government makes further changes to the rules by which housing requirements should be calculated and distributed, this housing need for Coventry city will need to be met either within the city or in adjacent districts such as Warwick district.”

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