Claim that Warwick taxpayers will face higher bills and poorer air quality

Protestors at the former strawberry field on the edge of Warwick
Protestors at the former strawberry field on the edge of Warwick

An extra tax bill of £50 million is being predicted by groups who have united to protest against the Local Plan.

About 100 people gathered outside Leamington town hall on Wednesday after demonstrating their opposition to the plan in a march down the Parade.

Town and parish councillors, local societies and even the odd county councillor were expected to be among those on the march.

Anthony King, chairman of the Save Warwick group, admits they are relieved sites at Gallows Hill and Europa Way - where there were applications for 500 and 900 homes - have now been removed from the district’s priority list.

But he said: “Our calculations from the draft Local Plan revealed a shortfall of £50 million in its budget figures.”

Beleagured district councillors - who are already late in delivering their Local Plan to the Government - know they need to find land for more houses to allow for population growth up to 2029.

Many of the sites needed have already been identified - but the garden suburbs proposed around Warwick have led to a continuing storm of anger about traffic pollution and protection of heritage.

And the 15 per cent growth of the population by 2029 is hotly disputed.

Mr King said: “Air pollution in some areas of Warwick is already at danger point - do we want to be like Beijing where chldren go to school wearing face masks?

Even Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White started his own petition and took protestors to government housing ministers.

Members of Save Warwick insist the real number of new homes needed is less than 6,000 and that the 12,900 suggested in the draft plan would lead to a total expenditure of £221.17 million - less contributions from S106 agreements intended to mitigate the effects of developments, plus a Community Infrastructure Levy, totalling £170.45 million.

Mr King said: “This will leave a deficit of £50.72 million.”