Consortium plans legal challenge if Local Plan gets green light from Warwick District Council

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Just days before it is set to be approved, Warwick district’s Local Plan could face a legal challenge from a consortium of parish councils and groups which are aiming to halt certain development projects and to protect green belt land.

The Keep our Green Belt Green consortium, made up of parish councils, residents’ groups and environmental organisations, has written to Warwick District Council to warn the authority that if the plan is adopted in its present form, with modifications recommended by the Government Inspector who examined it, a legal challenge would be likely to follow.

If the council resolves to adopt the plan - a blueprint for thousands of homes across the district - on September 20, the consortium will then have six weeks within which it can seek a judicial review of the plan.

Archie Taylor, of Burton Green Parish Council, said: “The process of preparing this plan has left a lot to be desired.

“The district council has bulldozed it through, encouraged by a pro-growth inspector.

“The philosophy of the plan is ‘development at all costs’ and any counter views have simply been brushed aside.

“It is regrettable that legal action is necessary, but there is no other way to correct the mistakes of the past.”

The grounds for the challenge would be that:

* The housing requirement for Warwick district has been over-estimated with a failure to give adequate consideration to criticisms of the methods used to arrive at this estimate.

* There has been no adequate assessment of whether other land could have been used for housing development rather than building nearly 5,000 houses in what is currently green belt

* Exceptional circumstances have not been demonstrated to justify substantial loss of green belt in order to develop a sub-regional employment site close to Coventry Airport.

* Public consultation on important modifications to the local plan was inadequate and did not meet the requirements of national planning policy, European legislation or the Council’s own Statement of Community Involvement.

See next week’s paper for the result of Wednesday’s Local Plan meeting.

Warwick district’s Local Plan, which will shape the development of the area for the next 12 years, was approved by the Government last month.

A Government planning inspector has given the revised version of the plan the green light, which will bring around 13,000 new homes to the district by 2029.

The council is expected to formally adopt it into its planning policy on Wednesday September 20.