Construction workers at Newbold Comyn allegedly subjected to abuse and intimidation - The Leamington Observer

Construction workers at Newbold Comyn allegedly subjected to abuse and intimidation

Leamington Editorial 13th Feb, 2023 Updated: 19th Feb, 2023   0

COUNCIL chiefs have condemned those responsible for ‘intimidating’ construction workers at the Newbold Comyn cycle trials.

Warwick District Council was forced to release an impassioned statement following numerous incidents by “a small and yet vocal minority” at the site of the new cycling facility – which eventually resulted in Warwickshire Police being called.

The cycle trails are being constructed on a small section of a former golf course to provide a safe place for families to cycle and has been made possible thanks to a £423,500 grant from Sport England and British Cycling through the Places to Ride fund.

Once completed, the cycle trails will be completely free to use and will eventually be supported by a cycling hub in the former golf shop to provide cycle hire facilities, a café, and toilets.

But the cycle trails have provoked stinging opposition from the outset, including from walkers who previously told the Observer they were concerned the area would no longer offer a haven for a quiet stroll and accused WDC of “riding roughshod over the feelings of the public”.

Construction work also had to be halted before Christmas due to “ecological concerns”. A Warwickshire Police investigation concluded no wildlife had been harmed.

WDC reported that a small group of people had been kicking down structures as they are being built by contractors, following and filming council officers, removing safety signs and damaging fencing, as well as making aggressive verbal challenges and obstructing contractors from working.

WDC Leader Coun Andrew Day said: “It is regrettable that the actions of a vocal minority who are seeking to intimidate our contractors working to create the Newbold Comyn cycle trails, has caused personal concern and undue stress. It saddens me that some feel it is appropriate to take matters into their own hands, and to resort to unlawful actions in an attempt to impose their will against the wishes of the wider community. This behaviour is unwarranted and wholly unacceptable. Our contractors and staff should be free to carry out their duties unfettered, without fear or intimidation.

“The Newbold Comyn masterplan, which includes the cycle trails currently under construction, along with an array of other recreational amenities and public open spaces, was agreed and confirmed following extensive public consultation. It is clear that the provision of these new facilities is well supported by local residents and that the specific project details were confirmed through a comprehensive planning approval process, which was also conducted in the public domain. Following the approval of planning permission, we continue to work closely with the Planning Authority as the trails are constructed, in accordance with ongoing expert archaeological and ecological advice.”

Coun Day added: “To accuse our contractors of wrongdoing and to seek to personally intimidate them when going out about their business, is of serious concern. I would like to thank officers from Warwickshire Police for their swift response in dealing with this matter and for confirming that immediate action will be taken should this unacceptable behaviour reoccur. I can assure residents that the attempt by a vocal minority to intimidate our contractors and council officers will not divert efforts to implement the agreed Newbold Comyn Masterplan in full, for the benefit of all.”


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