Warwick's St Mary's Land masterplan gets green light - The Leamington Observer

Warwick's St Mary's Land masterplan gets green light

Ian Hughes 29th Jun, 2017 Updated: 29th Jun, 2017   0

MAJOR plans for the development of St Mary’s Lands in Warwick have been given the green-light – including controversial proposals for a possible new hotel.

Warwick District Council yesterday agreed a masterplan following a two year consultation process with the St Mary’s Lands Working Party – made up of the Corp of Drums, Friends of St Mary’s Lands, Golf Centre, Hill Close Gardens, Warwick Racecourse, Racing Club Warwick Football Club, Warwick Town Council, Warwickshire County Council and the Warwick Society.

The masterplan – to be put into action later this year – includes a cycle path from Hampton Road to Saltisford Brook; improvements to footpaths and parking; a new play area next to the Forbes estate; and public toilet facilities at both the golf club and Racing Club Warwick, and improved drainage and flood defences.

Landscaping for the grade-II listed Hill Close Gardens on Bread and Meat Close has also been included in the redevelopment proposals, as has a new entrance to the racecourse.

Councillors also endorsed the inclusion of a hotel as part of the plans following a feasibility study on the economic benefits it could bring to the town.

The hotel proposals have been the focus of much controversy since the revamp plans were first muted.

Plans for a 100-bedroom hotel were previously rejected in 2012 – at the proposed location near the racecourse’s main entrance at the junction of Friars Street and Hampton Road – following an outcry from neighbouring residents.

Consultants have now suggested a possibly even bigger hotel of between 80 and 100 plus rooms – located on the site of the current marquee, near the racecourse stands, opposite Warwick Cricket Club.

The consultants also suggest it could be open by the beginning of 2019, and also list a number of hotel chains which could run it. Councillors will consider the hotel proposal in more detail later this year.

Secretary of the Friends of St Mary’s Lands, Nigel Hamilton, said: “After many years of work in partnership with Warwick District Council, The Friends of St Mary Lands are very pleased to see the ambitious plans for the regeneration and protection of this special area being realised.”

Coun Noel Butler, a member of the St Mary’s Lands working party, said the completed project would bring many benefits.

“With its nature reserve, Grade II listed gardens, racecourse, football and golf club, St Mary’s Lands is an integral part of our community. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the start of this project to make this area a unique visitor attraction in its own right, bringing with it fantastic facilities for local people and a huge boost to the town’s economy.”

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