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Housing plans for Eagle Rec fuel fury among residents in Leamington’s Old Town

Jenny Crowther, project manager for Waterloo Housing Group, and Sam Cheong, architect from John Thompson & Partners architects, showing residents the the development plans at the drop-in last week.

Jenny Crowther, project manager for Waterloo Housing Group, and Sam Cheong, architect from John Thompson & Partners architects, showing residents the the development plans at the drop-in last week.

A group of residents in Leamington’s Old Town have reacted with fury to proposals for new housing around the Eagle Recreation ground off Eagle Street.

Representatives from the Waterloo Housing Group have held a public exhibition at Shrubland Street Primary School, at which they displayed their plans to build 16 three-bed town houses and a block of nine one and two-bed flats to the west side of the Rec.

While some of the homes would have their own garages, there would also be a group car park and cars would enter the Rec via Aylesford Street.

Anthony Riley, group director of development and operations at Waterloo Housing, said: “As part of our partnership with Warwick District Council to provide new affordable housing, we are considering potential sites in the district, including this one at Eagle Street, where we are looking at the possibility of developing new homes.

“We are currently involved in consultation with the local community and will discuss the feedback with the district council.”

But members of the Friends of the Rec have launched a campaign to prevent the plans from taking shape, stating that the new homes would be out of character with the neighbourhood - branding them as “ugly” and “too high” - and that they would block views of trees and greenery for those who live nearby.

Members of the group also complained that those who attended the drop-in were not permitted to take away leaflets and brochures detailing the proposals, although they were told that plans could be posted or sent by email.

Group secretary Jill Barker said: “Our area is densely populated. The multicultural community from all areas of Leamington Spa make the most of this special place. It is well used and supports social inclusion.

“University students, teenagers, joggers, parents with small children and dog walkers all enjoy this haven of escape from urban life.

“It really is a popular green space and is the only one for some distance around. It is already small and we want to keep all of it. In the past, Warwick District Council has failed to support Old Town residents and Friend of the Rec had to secure funding through Natural England for facilities such as a children’s playground and a basketball court - specifically asked for by local teenagers.

“It actually recognised how this free green space provides health and wellbeing to the local community.”

She added: “The new development will only add pressure to the council’s waste management as they are struggling with waste now. New homes will only add to this problem.”

District councillor Norman Vincett, responsible for policy on housing, speaking to the Courier before the drop-in, said: “All the feeback will be collated. We are expecting the analysis of these comments to take a very short period of time and then we can see if we need to consult again.”

 

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