Controversial 200-home plan in Whitnash recommended for approval - just three months after it was rejected by councillors
The proposal has been fiercely fought by local residents, councillors and the local MP
A controversial plan to build 200 homes in Whitnash has been recommended for approval - just three months after it was rejected by councillors.
The East Whitnash development, on land south of Chesterton Gardens, was met with much opposition from local residents and councillors and it was refused on the grounds of extra traffic, poor access and the lack of amenities.
But developers AC Lloyd said it had addressed all these issues with planners - and now the plans will go back in front of the planning committee on May 19.
Warwick District Council officers said the scheme should be granted permission - but the decision will be made by councillors on the planning committee.
Back in February, the debate to build 200 homes on land south of Chesterton Gardens lasted just over two-and-a-half hours - and the proposal was rejected by just a single vote.
Now those campaigners who fought the plans said they will once again make their voices heard.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western was one of those campaigners. He said: “The critical flaw of the two applications AC Lloyd has submitted is the lack of proper, sustainable access.
“Clearly another access road would alleviate some of the traffic, noise and pollution concerns that would be unavoidable without one. But the suggestion of any new road across a school playing field is also a non-starter.
“Another viable access road is so crucial in fact that the Planning Inspector in an appeal decision document in 2013 said no further building should take place off the then-proposed Chesterton Gardens estate without one.
“The inspector referred to the ‘limited capacity in the Sydenham road network’ and referred to the potential of another access road via Campion School.
“Yet here we are eight years later, and no agreement has been reached with the school for that access road to be constructed. And given the expansion of the school I would hope that it is not agreed.
“More than 500 residents have opposed these plans because, for many, traffic, noise and the limited road capacity are already making life a misery.
“With thousands more car journeys being made on the existing road network, it would make life a nightmare for hundreds of residents – and damage residents’ health with an increase in pollutants such as Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).
Warwick District councillor and Sydenham resident Mini Mangat said: “AC Lloyd is trying to be sneaky by pursuing all avenues to force this development through regardless of residents’ wishes.
“I am regularly stopped in the street by residents concerned by the consequences of this development if a crucial second access road is not constructed.
“They fear increased traffic, accidents and air pollution on an estate that is increasingly populated by young families with children.
“It’s not that I’m against building houses but they have to be accessible - and this development would not be without another viable access road.”
Des Wynne, a director at AC Lloyd, said: “We accept that the delivery of these much-needed houses will have some impact on the residents of Chesterton Gardens but we have done our utmost to mitigate these issues, and we believe none of them constitute a proper basis to reject the scheme and we would hope that would encourage members to accept the proposals.
“There is a substantial mitigation package agreed to address traffic and noise issues and as a result neither the County Highway Authority or the District Environmental Health Officers have raised objections.
“Since the planning committee was held, we have also carried out a more detailed safety audit at Brimstone End regarding the access point, and have also drawn up a traffic calming scheme for the existing roads leading up to the site access to reduce traffic speeds to 20 mph in this area. This will support highway and pedestrian safety.
“Furthermore, we have included within the application an up-front construction traffic management plan to give more detail about how the construction stage would be managed, and particularly the avoidance of HGVs accessing the site at the start and end of the school day
“We also remain in dialogue with Campion School to buy a strip of land to create a road alongside the railway line to Chesterton Gardens for a further access route.”
“This is an allocated site in the Local Plan which is drawn up by the District Council and the development will provide a significant contribution to the identified housing needs of an area as established through the plan.
“The scheme also delivers a significant extension to the green infrastructure at Whitnash Brook through a public open space and encouraging walking and cycling. This area of enhanced public open space will ensure the development delivers an overall net gain in biodiversity.
“There are also wider economic benefits since we are a local employer employing local people. A significant number of jobs will be retained and new ones created as a result of this scheme.
“As part of the usual section 106 agreements, our package would include funding a comprehensive traffic calming scheme, providing a dedicated parking space and external wall plug for electric vehicle charging at each home and creating pedestrian and cycle links
within the site as well as funding a nearby cycle network to improve connections to the site.”