We will suffer the consequences

After becoming aware of JH Pearce’s letter in last week’s Courier, and further ‘garden suburb’ planning applications elsewhere in the paper, I felt compelled to write.

JH Pearce’s comments are, of course, correct, that it is national government policy that has forced district councils around the country into this debacle of rushing though evidence of a five year housing supply via a Local Plan.

However, it is local residents who will be left to suffer the consequences. Warwick District Council (WDC) placed the bulk of the ‘required’ development in the south of the district, and this will have massive long term effects for this area. It will be too late when ‘Joe Public’ fully realises.

The ONS have reduced their housing forecasts, Warwick district has not revised its supply predictions accordingly, and have approved nearly every large scale planning application in the draft Local Plan before it has even been considered by the Government Inspector. Will the developers be made to pull down houses if he agrees with the local people that there are too many allocated to the south of the district?

There are many alleged errors in the Local Plan, not least is the failure of WDC to consult with local people and allow them to participate in the details of the Local Plan.

The Neighbourhood Plans (NP) for Whitnash and Bishops Tachbrook have been prepared by local people. They could be largely ignored if the Local Plan is approved.

WDC claim to have consulted extensively. The local people in the south of the district disagree, claiming they were just told what was going to take place regarding the number of houses and where they would be allocated. The planning committee members outside of the south of the district outnumber the few from these areas. The approval of the developer’s applications reflects this. What has happened to democracy and fairness?

We recently suffered traffic chaos on the edge of Whitnash and Warwick Gates with temporary traffic lights that accompanied Severn Trent road works to support the development currently being built at Woodside Farm.

At peak times, the traffic was queued across the Harbury Lane cross roads, along Tachbrook Road and Othello Avenue. This is a sign of things to come, because this is with current levels of traffic, and the junction with the temporary lights is due to get traffic lights anyway once the development is complete. With Harbury Lane, Europa Way and Gallows Hill developments, there will be thousands more vehicles on these local roads.

As it currently stands there is general inadequacy of the road infrastructure to support these many large scale developments. There are a very limited number of crossing points from south to north of the district e.g. Warwick town centre, Princes Drive, etc. Whenever there is an accident on the nearby M40, or significant road works in Leamington, all of these various routes become gridlocked.

Without adequate road layouts around the whole district to cope with this high level of concentration of new homes all in one area, we are in danger of turning all our roads through the towns into car parks. It is feared that Warwickshire County Council has made a big blunder by only considering the effects on the traffic infrastructure of each development in isolation, rather than considering the cumulative effect. If that is indeed the case, then WCC will have allowed this large scale development to be approved without the proper investigations to have been carried out – this would be a complete disaster.

Neighbouring Stratford district is looking at a large scale housing development at Lighthorne, which is itself only just a few miles down the Banbury Road from the likes of Europa Way, Bishops Tachbrook and Whitnash. This has the potential to add even more traffic onto the routes back into Leamington/Warwick. Did WDC consider the combined effect of this in the Local Plan? I think not.

Of course, I assume all this has been taken account by WDC, hasn’t it? Local people care about their communities. It is evident WDC do not.

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