Future of Kenilworth Cricket Club 'uncertain' after 125-home plan next to ground agreed

What the plan could look like. Outline permission has now been granted, meaning a detailed plan will be submitted later
What the plan could look like. Outline permission has now been granted, meaning a detailed plan will be submitted later

The future of Kenilworth Cricket Club is 'uncertain' after a plan to build up to 125 houses right next to its ground was approved by councillors.

At a meeting on Tuesday April 24, concerns were raised over the number of houses, the safety of the development and the impact on traffic.

But Warwick District Council’s planning committee approved the plans by seven votes to three.

Developers Richborough Estates have outline permission to build the homes on the land off Warwick Road - meaning the exact details will have to be approved later.

Speaking after the decision was made, honorary secretary of Kenilworth Cricket Club Andy Smith said he was ‘not sure’ on what the future would hold for the club.

Although Andy said netting aimed at stopping flying cricket balls will be installed beyond the eastern side of the ground, he was worried the club could still be liable for damage or injury to people and properties.

He said: “We have concerns. Will it cause us to fold in due course? I dearly hope not.

“It has been mooted, but we are a strong club. We are volunteer-run, so it’s all down to members. No one gets paid a penny and we have no benefactor or sponsorship.

“We will carry on the best that we can do, but our concern is the closeness of the development.

“If the ball does get struck out of the ground - and there will be occasions despite the netting - there is a likelihood that either somebody’s going to get hit, let alone a child that would be severely injured, or property and vehicles are going to be damaged.

“It’s the biggest thing that’s going to impact the club in its 115-year history. We’ve been on that ground for 94 years. This is going to irreversibly affect the area around the club.”

The site is part of Warwick district’s Local Plan, but the site was only earmarked for 100 homes.

Before the committee debated the plans, Cllr George Illingworth spoke against the plans on behalf of Kenilworth Town Council and claimed the increase in homes to up to 125 was ‘excessive’.

His assessment was shared by Leek Wootton parish councillor Colin Smith, and Cllr Pat Cain who spoke in her capacity as a district councillor for St John’s ward.

Cllr John Barrott (Lab, Sydenham) questioned why a roundabout could not have been installed on Warwick Road to help with traffic flow and road safety.

Currently, vehicle access to the site will be via a T-junction.

Ben Simm of Warwickshire County Council’s highways department explained a roundabout was not feasible because part of it would involve ‘third party land’ - or land that developers nor the council had control over.

He also said models had shown the development would not drastically affect traffic.

This led Cllr Felicity Bunker (Con, Park Hill) to say: “It might work in theory, but the experts are the people who live there and experience the road for what it’s like.

“Local people know what the road problems are going to be.”