A plan by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) to build a hub for its Vehicle Operations Division near Kenilworth is set to create around 500 jobs if approved by planners.
The area planned for development is part of the green belt southwest of the A4177 Honiley Road, and was the former site of Honiley Airfield.
A 17,800 sq metre building will be erected along with additional works such as car parking and a storage area for ‘work in progress’ vehicles.
Planning officers have recommended that the plans be approved by Warwick District Council at Tuesday’s (November 10) meeting, citing the economic benefits the development by a company like JLR would bring during construction and once the site is completed.
Although the development will be located on green belt land, this is mitigated by “very special circumstances” according to council officers.
Under the National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF), any land that has been previously developed on can be developed on again even if it falls within the green belt.
The NPPF states that the redevelopment of previously developed sites which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the green belt than the existing development is allowed.
Council officers also said that the site is “extremely well screened from public view” as JLR does not want the press or the public seeing new cars being driven on the site’s test track.
Although local residents have voiced concerns about road safety, the Highways Authority concluded the development would have a minimal impact.
Cycleways Kenilworth also objected to the transport strategy of the application, as in its view the plan does not improve nearby cycle routes and creates significantly increased traffic.
Additional objections from residents claimed the plans disregard their safety, would create a lot of noise and disturbances, and would impact upon the ecology of the area.
Despite these concerns, officers concluded that the application will “facilitate the continuing growth and development of a major employer with clear economic benefits.”