Objectors welcome Coventry Gateway decision

Outline of the proposed Coventry and Warwickshire Gateway.
Outline of the proposed Coventry and Warwickshire Gateway.

Campaigners and objectors have welcomed Community Secretary Eric Pickels’ decision to refuse permission for the £450 million Coventry Gateway scheme.

The planned project, which according to Coventry and Warwickshire Devolopment Partnership would create 10,000 jobs and included offices, a hotel and industrial units on 740 acres of greenbelt land near Coventry Airport, was met with hundreds of objections before it was approved by Warwick district and Coventry City councils.

But Mr Pickels decided to review the project and - after a process which lasted 30 months in total and included a public inquiry - made his decision with the protection of the land firmly in mind.

The Community Group, which was formed to represent the interests of the parishes of Baginton, Bubbenhall and Stoneleigh and Ashow, said it is “extremely relieved” at the decision but warned the land is still under threat from Warwick District Council’s Local Plan.

A statement from the group said: “The development would have totally engulfed the historic village of Baginton, overshadowed the village of Bubbenhall and brought chaos to Stoneleigh.

“It is a great relief to these villages that this horror has been averted.

“However, Warwick District Council’s emerging Local Plan proposes to remove this area

of land from the Green Belt and allocate it for employment use.

“This would remove the presumption that development in the countryside is intrinsically inappropriate and replace it with a presumption in favour of development.

“The fight to protect our rural communities continues.”

The Campaign to Protect Rural England, which had also opposed the project, has vowed to be vigilant to any further threats to the land

Richard Dickson, the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Kenilworth and Southam, had also objected to the scheme.

He said: “This is a huge vindication of the National Planning Policy Framework and shows that any possible development on Green Belt has to show conclusively that there are outweighing economic benefits.

“It’s also a real testament to the power of local community action, especially all the work done by the late Bertie Mackay.”