Views sought on plan for Leamington community space

Children pictured taking part in a previous litter-picking event at the Eagle Rec in Leamington.
Children pictured taking part in a previous litter-picking event at the Eagle Rec in Leamington.

Schools and residents in Leamington’s Old Town will be invited to tell councillors what they want to happen to the Eagle Rec off Eagle Street.

The recreation ground and children’s play area has been linked to anti-social behaviour for many years, but following letters in this paper, Warwick District Council has committed to running a public consultation exercise to ask those who live nearby what should be done to improve it.

Among ideas already put forward are to build houses classed as ‘affordable’ around the edges of the Rec - but Cllr Norman Vincett, who is responsible for policy on housing, says no decisions will be made without first consulting people who live in the area.

He said: “If we can help to finance anything, such as building some affordable housing around the perimeter, then perhaps we can improve the Rec for residents.

“The Eagle Rec has not been highlighted in the Local Plan, but affordable housing is one idea. If we could place some there, it would be terrific because we are desperate for affordable housing in the district.

“But we very much want to keep the Rec as an open space so any housing would be on the perimeter only. It is a used space and we would not want to take that away.”

Comparing the site to St Johns in Kenilworth, Cllr Vincett said: “There had been anti-social behaviour there and we wanted to improve the play area, the walkway and plant area as a way of getting rid of that. It would be good if we could do a similar thing with the Rec.

“But we don’t want to antagonise or upset anyone. We want to run a consultation to gather people’s views. We are looking at all possibilities and options.”

Writing in the letters page last week in response to a letter from a resident about Eagle Rec, Cllr Alan Wilkinson (Lab, Leamington Brunswick) said he and other Labour councillors in Old Town were in talks with the headteachers of Clapham Terrace and Shrubland Street Primary Schools with the aim of exploring the option of using the Rec as school playing fields. But he added: “Any changes must be beneficial for all.”