While the weight of Jaguar Land Rover’s intervention has pushed a developer to significantly scale down its plans for a ‘new town’ in south Warwickshire, campaigners are demanding that more details are disclosed.
The Commercial Estates Group (CEG) originally wanted to build 4,800 new homes on land near Lighthorne and Gaydon. But after Gaydon-based Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) wrote to Stratford District Council to voice its opposition, CEG reduced the housing number to 3,000. Its new plan now only includes one new primary school and no longer includes employment land.
Last week, the district council’s cabinet resolved to run further public consultations on CEG’s plan, as well as plans for 2,000 homes between Southam and Long Itchington and 800 homes at Stoneythorpe Farm near Southam. The council also agreed on a revised new housing figure of 10,800 over the next 17 years.
But Laura Steele, chairman of campaign group FORSE (Friends Of a Rural and Sustainable Environment) - which set up last year to voice people’s opposition against CEG’s plan, said: “You are now proposing under 3,000 houses, with possibly no new school at all, no jobs whatsoever and one centre if at all. This site is not sustainable at any level.
“We remain sceptical about the 3,000 houses figure, as it now seems unachievable.”
Richard Burke from Commercial Estates Group said: “This site is next to one of the largest employment areas in the district, it sits alongside the motorway and there is an opportunity to provide access to a high quality public transport network.
“Housing numbers have reduced in order to accommodate the employment expansion space required by JLR. As a result, the size of some of the facilities have reduced, but the proposed facilities such as healthcare, education, leisure, recreation, shops, highways improvements and other community provisions are still included within the proposals.”