Bid to stop development on Leamington green belt fails
A MOVE to defend green belt land north of Leamington from development has been defeated.
Labour councillors on Leamington Town Council last week voted down Liberal Democrat proposals to protect farmland in Blackdown and Old Milverton from building.
But the town council supported other moves to curb the spread of student homes, govern the evening economy and support computer games and automotive industry in the area.
Almost 2,000 homes are proposed on sites in Blackdown and near Old Milverton as part of Warwick District Council’s next local plan, which will shape development until 2026.
The plan is intended to contrast with the unpopular ‘core strategy’ proposed in 2010, in which housebuilding was concentrated south of Whitnash and Warwick Gates.
In an amendment supported by Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats were asking for “robust” steps to identify other sites to preserve the green barrier between Leamington and Kenilworth.
Cllr Bill Gifford, a member of both authorities, believes the argument that green belt should be built on to ‘spread the pain’ was not a planning argument.
He said: “If the green belt means anything, it means you build on it last.”
The Liberal Democrat group proposed alternative sites such as land west of Radford Semele and south of Leamington. Cllr Gifford said there were no major towns until Swindon, but the M40 and industrial land provided transport and infrastructure.
He described the term ‘nimby’ as a “puerile” word that could be used to describe anyone rightly concerned about development near their home.
The Liberal Democrats also questioned why a policy about Leamington’s evening economy had not been finished and was not being consulted on, and asked for a policy restricting the number and density of shared houses.
In other amendments, they asked for support for the town’s computer games industry and automotive industry, as well as encouraging public transport, walking and cycling to work.
Former Leamington mayor Cllr Alan Wilkinson (Lab, Brunswick) said: “While land south of Leamington is not technically greenbelt it is farming land and residents of south Leamington should have access to walks and green spaces as easily as those in the north.”
Consultation on the proposals ends next Friday.
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Weather for Leamington
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 18 C
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Wind direction: West