19th Oct, 2017

'Disappointment' at homes plan for Warwick

Leamington Editorial 26th Jan, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

MP Chris White has called on the Secretary of State to rethink plans to allow the building of over 1,300 near Warwick.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark overturned Warwick District Council’s decision in 2014 to refuse planning permission for 900 homes at the Asps sites just outside the town.

The Secretary of State also agreed with the planning inspector’s decision that 450 homes should also be built at neighbouring Gallows Hill – which the council had also previously refused. The same planning inspector had advised the Asps development should be rejected, but the Secretary of State disagreed.

Warwick and Leamington MP Mr White has written to the secretary urging him to reconsider.

He said: “I believe overturning the inspector’s decision both undermines the consultation process which has been undertaken and also calls into question the purpose of the inspector in the first instance. I fear this will damage confidence in the planning system both locally and at a wider level.

“To allow such a high number of houses to be built in a concentrated area will have severe consequences in terms of capacity and capability of local infrastructure to cope with the increase. Traffic congestion is already an issue and to add so many homes would have serious consequences for the town.”

And district councillors agreed with the Mr White and also fear the two developments will be an eyesore alongside the grade I listed Castle Park.

Saltisford councillor John-Paul Bromley said: “Government is always telling us that there needs to be more empowerment at local level, yet they can still make and overturn decisions made at local level as they have in this case.”

And Emscote councillor Jackie Darcy said she worried about the impact extra houses would have on congestion in the area.

She also believes the extra homes would have a negative impact on the local plan after the council had pushed back the date of a report which laid out changes to the document – outlining development in the district over the next 15 years.

Coun Darcy said: “I am extremely concerned about the impact on traffic congestion and air pollution that this disproportionate number of houses would bring. Our local plan is currently suspended so that we and other local authorities can address the unmet housing need from Coventry and our five year housing supply, as required by the planning inspector.

“This decision has now put the council’s plan back at least another month so that the implications of these decisions can be evaluated.”

Council chiefs now plan to seek legal advice on a High Court challenge against the Asps site, which is situated between Europa Way and Banbury Road. The development would consist of 900 homes, 500 parking spaces, a primary school and a park and ride.

Mr White added: “I will wholeheartedly support any challenge the local authority wishes to make as this is an issue of huge significance to our local area.”

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