Warwick District could take on an extra 2,280 homes

Kings Hill Lane (general views) - a designated Green Belt Land at present, but under consideration by the Council, for building to go ahead. NNL-150225-000525009
Kings Hill Lane (general views) - a designated Green Belt Land at present, but under consideration by the Council, for building to go ahead. NNL-150225-000525009
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Council leader Andrew Mobbs said this week there has been “no discussion” on boundary changes within Warwick 
district - despite suggestions of expansion from neighbouring Coventry.

While the Government’s Office for National Statistics has greatly reduced its forecasts for population growth in Warwick, Leamington and Kenilworth, the numbers living in Coventry are expected to expand dramatically by 2031.

And all of the 36,000 new homes needed by the city cannot be accommodated within its relatively narrow boundaries.

A new report from the Coventry and Warwickshire Joint Committee for Economic Growth suggests that a third of the new homes, 12,620, should be built on land across the borders with Warwick district, Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth.

This could mean Warwick picking up an extra 2,280 homes on top of the 12,900 submitted in the Local Plan which is shortly to be considered by a Government inspector.

Rugby would be asked to find sites for even more - 4,140 in addition to its Local Plan, which has still not been agreed.

Stratford would be asked to find sites for an extra 640 homes and Nuneaton and Bedworth for another 1,460.

On Tuesday a leading Coventry city councillor said that if newcomers ended up living in homes on the boundaries of the city, where their children would be attending local schools, it might be the time for “grown-up” discussions about boundary changes.

But Cllr Mobbs, speaking on behalf of Warwick District Council, said while he accepted there was a ‘duty to co-operate’ with neighbouring councils, he was surprised by the comments about boundary changes.

Cllr Mobbs said: “In reality nothing has been agreed about where the required extra housing will go.

“Warwick District has dealt with housing numbers through its Local Plan and we have fully considered our requirement regarding the ‘duty to co-operate’ (with neighbouring councils).”

Last year there was talk of 650 acres of Green Belt land at Kings Hill, off Stoneleigh Road on the borders of Coventry and Kenilworth, being redesignated so it could be used for housing.

Cllr Mobbs stressed: “There is nothing on the table regarding Kings Hill. I can confirm that I made this clear to Cllr Ann Lucas, leader of Coventry City Council, on a number of occasions.

“There has also been no discussion concerning any boundary changes.”

It was parliamentary candidate Lynnette Kelly, who is currently an elected member of Coventry City Council, who first raised the issue of potential building at Kings Hill, which is already partly owned by the city even though it is within the county borders.

Her council colleague, Kevin Maton, cabinet member for business, said: “We are talking about housing need forecasts, not targets, and not necessarily suggesting Kings Hill. There are other areas.

“But if families living on our borders use city roads and their children attend city schools there might well be a case for moving boundaries.”