29th Oct, 2016

Council will not challenge 900 homes Asps decision

Laura Kearns 10th Feb, 2016 Updated: 15 hours ago

DESPITE being ‘bitterly disappointed’ about a decision which will see 900 homes built near Warwick, council chiefs will not launch a legal challenge.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark recently overturned Warwick District Council’s decision in 2014 to refuse planning permission for the development at the Asps – situated between Europa Way and Banbury Road. The Secretary of State went against a planning inspector who recommended the site should be rejected.

The council had vowed to look into opposing the decision but now say they have been advised the success of a legal challenge is low. The only challenge which could be made is one on the grounds of procedural flaws.

And they also believe the time, money and resources which would be spent on fighting the appeal could ‘overshadow’ the development of the local plan – the document which will outline development in the entire district over the next 15 years.

A report into the document was already pushed back by a month after the council discovered the Asps site had been given the go-ahead. The development will also include a primary school, park and ride and 500 parking spaces.

Council leader Andrew Mobbs said: “I am bitterly disappointed by the appeal decision as I strongly believe we need to be planning for the right development in the right place. This is exactly why it is important to progress our local plan as quickly as possible, as with an adopted plan we can avoid this type of unplanned development from happening again.”

Local campaign group Save Warwick and heritage organisation Historic England have also both said they will not be challenging the decision.

Both believe building homes on the Asps site will damage the heritage and landscape and could be an eyesore next to the Grade I-listed Warwick Castle Park.

A Historic England spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have had a look at the Asps case and cannot see a justification from our perspective to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision.

“We understand the district council have researched a similar decision with respect to any legal challenge. I must say we are disappointed at the result and appreciate the difficulties it will inevitably create with respect to housing allocations in the district.”

The district council also says it will not be challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to allow 450 homes to be built on nearby Gallows Hill – which the council had also previously refused.