The deadline for public feedback on the Kenilworth Neighbourhood Plan has been extended to allow time for a public meeting on the plan to be held.
Residents now have until Tuesday August 8 to respond to the plan, and will be able to voice their opinions at a special public meeting at St Francis of Assisi Church Hall in Warwick Road on Tuesday July 25, starting at 7pm. The original deadline was Friday June 30.
Leader of the town council Cllr John Cooke said many people had requested a public meeting, and the amount of people who turned up on Saturdays to talk to councillors meant holding such a meeting was a good idea.
He said: “Once I’d made the decision it’s right and proper for people to put in their responses after the meeting.
“Some of those who have come on Saturdays have been absolutely fantastic, and some of them I’m sure will go to the public meeting.
“I want to hear from the public though - I don’t want to hear from councillors.”
While the amount of respondents to the plan so far has been praised, both Cllr Cooke and Cllr George Illingworth wished to reiterate the Neighbourhood Plan aims to mitigate the effects of Warwick district’s updated Local Plan, which allocated a lot more housing for Kenilworth than in its original form.
Once Kenilworth School and Sixth form moves to its new site at Southcrest Farm, there will be space for 250 homes at the current school site off Leyes Lane, and 130 homes at the sixth form site in Rouncil Lane.
Land to the east of Kenilworth beyond Crewe Lane has been allocated 640 homes, as well as new community facilities. And land near Thickthorn Island will have 760 homes built, along with a new primary school. Around 100 houses will be built on land around Kenilworth Cricket Club to the south of the town centre off Warwick Road.
The Neighbourhood Plan can do nothing to stop this, but can try and lessen the impact on Kenilworth.
Cllr Cooke added: “The real problem with our Neighbourhood Plan is that it’s running at the same time as the district council’s Local Plan, to a certain extent.
“Not all, but most of the complaints have problems with something to do with the Local Plan - all the Neighbourhood Plans in the world won’t alter this housing.
“There are proposals in the Neighbourhood Plan as to how we can best mitigate the impact of the housing. We can insist on a much higher design grade, for example.
“If the Neighbourhood Plan is accepted, the requirements of it will have to be taken into account at planning meetings. So if people don’t accept this plan, they’re shooting themselves in the foot.”
Cllr George Illingworth, chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan working party, echoed Cllr Cooke’s thoughts.
He said: “We don’t like what’s going on. The town council didn’t really accept the changes to the Local Plan - we were happy with the original.
“The Local Plan is fixed, but the Neighbourhood Plan is attempting to mitigate and manage it.”