A controversial bid for 520 homes and a country park in Leamington has been rejected as councillors gave the go-ahead for 425 new homes in Warwick’s Gallows Hill.
The outline application for 520 houses off Harbury Lane – including a country park and a primary school – was defeated by one vote at Warwick District Council’s planning committee meeting on Tuesday.
But members were warned that a refusal based on traffic fears when the application had the green light from highways officers may not stand up should the case go to appeal.
Planning committee chairman Alan Rhead abstained from voting, which led to the 5-4 decision. This was despite him calling for the development, which was designed in line with the council’s Local Plan, to be further investigated.
Members went on to approve permission for 425 houses, a medical centre and community hall on land off Gallows Hill, in line with officers’ recommendations.
The site may also be home to a new football stadium for Leamington Football Club.
What is the point of having a Local Plan if we willy-nilly throw it out? We have a duty to provide housing.Cllr Alan Wilkinson
The Gallows Hill plan, which had 46 objections, was approved despite concerns over traffic at Castle Bridge and Bridge End roundabout and the loss of open space between Leamington and Warwick. But the Harbury Lane plan was rejected over fears that it would have a negative impact on the countryside and cause an increase in traffic, and after agreement that it was premature to act on the Local Plan before it was approved by the Government.
The application had 62 objections and would include the widening of Europa Way to ease traffic congestion.
Cllr Jerry Webber urged members to think twice, saying: “We are in desperate need of good quality housing, but the impact would be on Leamington and Bishops Tachbrook which is already used as a rat run to the M40.”
Bishops Tachbrook parish councillors claimed there were more than 200 village objections, saying the plan was contrary to its own draft Neighbourhood Plan and being “clearly contrary” to green field planning guidelines.
Representing the applicant A C Lloyd at the meeting, a spokesman said: “To refuse this would be to prejudice development in the Local Plan strategy and to increase the risk of appeals on sites outside the plan.”
Cllr Alan Wilkinson asked the committee: “What is the point of having a Local Plan if we willy-nilly throw it out? We have a duty to provide housing.”
A C Lloyd can now take the application to appeal.