Warwick group secure £30,000 to fight 900 homes

Developers need green field sites for more homes
Developers need green field sites for more homes

A legal fund of £30,000 has been secured by the Save Warwick campaign group to fight an appeal to build 900 new homes on farmland at The Asps, between Europa Way and Banbury Road.

A barrister and three expert witnesses have been engaged to represent the group after the final £5,000 worth of cash was pledged by Warwick Town Council and Bishops Tachbrook Parish Council.

On Tuesday David Williams, spokesman for Save Warwick - formed when it was realised what a huge impact the Local Plan would have on the town - made an urgent appeal to members of the town’s planning committee.

As a result, they promised the final £3,000 the group needed to secure the services of a London barrister plus three expert witnesses.

Bishops Tachbrook has already given £2,000 and the bulk of the cash has already been secured from the group’s own fundraising activities along with fellow travellers in the Warwick Society.

Mr Williams told town council leader Gerry Guest that his group needed a promise of at least £3,000 immediately so that they could book the services of the barrister immediately. The final date for submitting written evidence to the Government inspector, ahead of the hearing on April 14, was March 17.

As a result Cllr Guest (Con, Warwick South), who also chairs the finance committee, and his deputy Mike Kinson, agreed to pledge the £3,000 ahead of their full meeting on Monday.

Cllr Guest said: “We are all on the same side. The money will help the town, parish and district council put their case before a Government inspector at the appeal by Barwood Strategic Land to turn The Asps farmland into a garden suburb.”

Town clerk Derek Maudlin said some £5,000 of council tax money - equivalent to some 50p for every house in Warwick - had been set aside to fight issues that might arise throughout a financial year that affect residents.

Mr Maudlin added: “The town council is pleased to support the district council in its refusal of development at The Asps and the effect that would have on our heritage.

“The development is right on the edge of the castle park, in open countryside, which means cars would have to be used by any new residents.

“This increased traffic would further exacerbate the already dangerously high levels of air pollution in the town.”

Cllr Guest, along with town and county councillor John Holland (Lab, Warwick West), also highlighted the concerns of the county’s chief medical officer, Dr John Linnane, who recently estimated that, while smoking continues to have the biggest impact on health, the impact of air quality on mortality rates in Wawickshire were comparable to those of obesity and alcohol.