FEARS have been voiced that jobs could be at threat if more student flats are built in Leamington.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western met with concerned businesses to discuss proposals for a 328-bed student complex in Althorpe Street.
An anonymous business owner told the MP at least 85 workers could lose their jobs if the plans went ahead.
The plans are set to be considered by Warwick District Council’s planning committee in the next few months – although a firm date has yet to be set.
More than 100 objections have already been lodged against the scheme, which would be a stone’s throw from an existing 187-bed purpose-built student complex.
The business owner told Mr Western: “None of the tenanted businesses have been offered relocation although their premises contracts have changed – so they can be ousted if or when this development gets passed.
“A particular owner has been based in Althorpe Street for nearly ten years and has a really successful business – but they have told me if the plans go ahead, it will have to close.
Business owners believe the council risks breaching its own Local Plan for housing and development which outlines protections for existing businesses on Althorpe Street as it is listed as an employment site.
Mr Western said: “I share the community’s concerns with these proposals, particularly the impact it will have on the smaller traders located in the area and the knock-on effect for employment.
“I will keep a close eye on the progress of any planning application.
“Across our area, the wrong type of housing is being built in the wrong locations – often without appropriate infrastructure.
“We should be prioritising affordable housing for low-income residents who so desperately need it.”
Carrie Terry from the Leamington Together community group fears the proposed development would bring more noise pollution, disrupt waste collection, and increase competition for car parking places.
And nearly 350 people have also signed a petition urging the developer not to fell the mature trees which line the Grand Union Canal tow path next to the proposed development.
The petition’s author Romy Dixon has demanded the firm preserve the surrounding environment if construction went ahead, arguing the canal area was a crucial ‘green corridor’ in south Leamington.