PLANS to build 170 homes on the site of Warwick District Council offices in Leamington have been branded ‘seriously flawed’ by MP Matt Western.
The Warwick and Leamington MP and a local residents’ group have both spoken out against proposals to turn Riverside House on Milverton Hill into homes when the council moves to a new purpose built headquarters base on the current Covent Garden car park in the town centre.
Concerns have been raised about the pressure extra homes would cause on road and schools.
The cost of the project – which is set to total some £11million – has also been called into question.
Mr Western told the Observer: “I am against the Riverside proposal as I believe it is the wrong development in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I welcome new housing in principle but have concerns over the affordability and suitability of what is proposed.
“While I understand the residential plans are not finalised, I am concerned about the direction the project is already heading.
“The council need to explore all avenues with other organising bodies and the possibility of co-locating certain services in the area.
“Overall, the project is a seriously flawed concept which poses serious pressure on the local area and the local community.”
His worries were echoed by residents living close to the proposed development.
Spokesman Andrew Boyton said an increase in traffic would be an ‘accident waiting to happen’.
He said: “The traffic and speed of cars on Milverton Hill is of concern at peak periods. The fact there have been no accidents to date is simply lucky.
“As deputy chief executive of Warwick District Council Bill Hunt stated in a recent meeting the emergency services are a main culprit in using the hill as a rat run.
“And further pressures on school catchment should be a wider concern with schools under tighter budgets and other greater demands.”
But the district council say no concerns have been raised about speeding or road safety by the county council – which is responsible for roads.
A council spokeswoman said: “ These issues were raised with the district council and we explained that there had been extensive discussions between the project team and the county council who had not raised any concerns about speeding or road safety.
“They were therefore not asking for the development scheme to make any financial contributions towards any changes to the road network in the vicinity of the scheme.”
District council chiefs hope to save around £300,000 annually by moving to the new HQ which they say will be much smaller but more suitable for the 21st century needs of staff. They also claim the scheme will help to regenerate the area.