MP Matt Western has launched a petition protesting at controversial plans for a new multi-million council headquarters and new homes in Leamington.
Mr Western is among some 70 people who have written to Warwick District Council opposed to the development of a purpose built headquarters on the site of the current Covent Garden car park, and the sale of the council’s existing Riverside House hq to developers for the building of up to 170 new homes – with no social housing included.
The Warwick and Leamington MP said many residents were furious at the proposals and claimed they had not been properly consulted on the plans, which he called a ‘done deal’.
The Labour MP added: “Warwick District Council plans to sell its office site and use the land for the exclusive development of private housing and not council or social housing on the Riverside House site, contrary to its own and Government planning policy, and in so doing setting the wrong precedent for private developers.”
“Public sector cuts mean that communities are losing children’s centres, social care is at a crisis point and all services are suffering. In such a challenging environment, many people tell me how surprised they are that the district council is proposing to build a new office.”
If granted, Covent Garden car park would be demolished to make way for a five-storey council office building, also containing 44 apartments. A replacement car park with more than 600 spaces would also be built.
Although Mr Western accepted there was a need to redevelop the car park, he believed spaces would be forfeited for council use and have an impact on Leamington town centre businesses.
The petition has to date gained over 100 signatures.
Warwick District Council planning committee is set to consider both applications on Tuesday (January 9). Officers have recommended both be granted.