Warwick councillor hits out at planning officers over decision to allow homes to be built in garden of Kenilworth property

A Warwick councillor has hit out at council officers after they went against expert advice warning against building two detached homes in the garden of a Kenilworth property located in a conservation area.

Friday, 9th October 2020, 11:55 am
Updated Friday, 9th October 2020, 11:56 am
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Cllr Terry Morris (Con, Warwick Saltisford) said such areas needed to be conserved and that he had major concerns over the recommendation from officers that permission for the site in Upper Spring Lane be approved.

He was speaking at a meeting of Warwick District Council’s planning committee [TUE] over plans to build the new homes and their detached garages in the garden of a Hobournes - a bungalow on the corner of Fieldgate Lane and Upper Spring Lane.

In a report presented to councillors, Warwickshire County Council’s landscape officer objected because the plans were in contravention of the Local Plan. He also flagged up that 16 trees and two further groups of trees would need to be chopped down.

Another report, from the district council’s own conservation officer, also objected but his comments were not mentioned in the summary of the report.

Cllr Morris said: “The conservation officer did send an email to officers with some fairly clear reservations recommended that the large garages being omitted from the scheme and that the large gables were dominant and that a more traditional design would be appropriate.

“It is interesting that that has been missed from the summary and that officers have chosen to ignore the conservation officer.”

Planning officer Sandip Sahota explained that comments from the conservation officer were not included in the summary because they were not a statutory consultee and, as they worked within the planning department, comments were included in the report.

But Cllr Morris added: “If something is in the conservation area, whether you can see it or not, it’s in the conservation area. The conservation officer has raised concerns about this application. It is in a conservation area, I would strongly suggest that the conservation officer’s opinion counts for a lot.

“I really do have major concerns that we are in a conservation area and the officer is not happy. We have to protect our conservation areas.”

His concerns were echoed by Kenilworth Town Council and neighbour Martin Hornbrook, one of 14 local residents to object to the plans.

Mr Hornbrook told the meeting: “What is the point of having specialist conservation and landscaping officers if their views are not accepted by the planning case officers. It’s a bit like having two specialist heart surgeons told by the non specialist doctor what to do.”

Councillors voted by eight votes to three to refuse permission.