17th Nov, 2019

Plans to build school, homes and country park approved despite strong objections

PLANS to build a new school, housing development and country park have been given the green light in the face of strong objection.

A 1,000 plus petition and around 100 letters against the proposal were sent to Warwick District Council over the plans to develop land between Whitnash and Bishops Tachbrook on land off Oakley Wood Road, near the Harbury Lane junction.

But councillors this week gave the go ahead for developers AC Lloyd to build a primary and secondary school with sixth form, along with land for a country park and 150 homes. The site will be around the size of 36 football pitches.

Many who objected were concerned the application went against the district’s local plan, and did not keep Bishops Tachbrook as a separate village from Leamington and Warwick.

There were also worries about loss of rural areas and increased traffic among other concerns.

Bishops Tachbrook parish councillor Ray Bullen said the area was already under enough pressure after being earmarked for some 5,000 homes under the local plan.

He said: “This issue has caused considerable concern to those living in the area to the extent that they signed up to a petition to accept a school on a better site, but not with any more housing, as already 5,050 houses have been given permission in this one area of the district and there is not an established need for any more.”

There were five letters of support for the application, and Warwick District Council said while it recognised concerns, it was the right location.

The council argue pupils will be able to walk or cycle to school using the country park and claims the park will be bigger as the school’s sports pitches will be open for community use and incorporated into the plans.

A spokeswoman said: “It is considered that there is a well-justified education need for the development which has been adequately demonstrated.

“The development is considered to have a moderate level of harm on the landscape. It is also acknowledged that bringing the built form closer to Bishops Tachbrook would have a detrimental impact on the setting of the conservation area and nearby listed buildings.

“In the particular circumstances of this application, it is considered a departure from the local plan is justified.

“The provision of adequate education facilities to meet the council’s education requirements carries substantial weight and the benefits which would be brought about as a result of the development are considered to be significant.”

Bishop Tachbrook Parish Council was neutral regarding the plans, but following the meeting told the Observer it was pleased to see the district council had committed to investment and mitigating some of the effects of development in the area.

Chairman Matthew Greene said: “With the decision now out of the community’s hands, it is my hope we can now reunify and work together to ensure the school is as successful as possible and the applicants and Warwick District Council keep to their word.”

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