Green Light for warwick district’s Local Plan

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Most of them were fully 
supportive, others reluctant backers and some steadfast in their impassioned opposition.

But by 9pm on Wednesday night - and after what was described as a “long and difficult journey” - Warwick district councillors had voted by a majority of 25 to 10 in favour of submitting the authority’s Draft Local Plan to the Secretary of State for independent examination.

Those opposed to the controversial document, which aims to create 12,900 new homes across the district by 2029, were vehement in their objections.

Land south of Warwick and near Whitnash will bear the brunt of the development, - with the former getting 4,000 new houses - and it is mainly councillors from these areas who are against the plan.

Cllr Michael Kinson (Con, Warwick West) said: “There is a Save Warwick Group, a Warwick Deserves Better group and campaigners from Whitnash. Why are there none from Leamington and Kenilworth?

“In 2014 we celebrated 1,100 years of Warwick as a town, 2015 is not looking good.

“We should not be going for broke, we should be going for what is required and that is development spread fairly throughout the district.”

Those opposed to the plan are concerned about a lack of infrastructure planned for the development, increased pollution and traffic congestion in Warwick and its town centre and that the projected number of houses required to meet the Government’s demand is too high.

Cllr Alan Rhead (Con, Budbrooke) suggested the budget for the infrastructure delivery plan was £11 million short of the £287 million total he had calculated and questioned whether the council would be able to find the full funding.

He said: “Having no plan is a risk of course but so is having a plan that is unsound.

“We have to think of our children and grandchildren.”

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Cllrs Linda Bromley (Ind, Warwick South) and Bob Dhillon (Con, Warwick West) weighed in with their views with the former saying the plan would turn Warwick into a “congested, poluted and undesirable town” and the latter comparing it to the “Iraq Dossier - full of factusal errors” and accusin gthe council of an “abuse of power and democracy” over the process in which the document has been put together.

Cllr Moira-Ann Grainger (Con, Warwick North) who is also the Mayor of Warwick, said she would vote in favour of the plan “with a heavy heart”.

She said: “We are in a no win situation. If we reject the plan we could have a scenario where developers are able to build more houses in Warwick.

“It’s great that we have jumoed from being the 42nd to the 11th most desirable place to live but that means more people want to come to live here.”

Those is favour of the plan warned it would provide better protection against developers being able to build more houses as and where they pleased.

Cllr Michael Doody (Con, Radford Semele) said: “None of us can tell what will happen in 20 years’ time.

“It is important we can protect our communities but it is also important to go along with the rules.”

Opposition party leaders Cllr John Barott (Lab, Leamington Willes) and Alan Boad (Lib, Leamington Crown) showed their support for the plan to be submitted with the former encouraging members to trust the advice of officers .

Cllr Boad said: “When I have spoke to some protestors and asked them ‘where are your children and grandchildren going to live?’ some have said ‘not here and I don’t care’. Well I do.”

Cllr Les Caborn (Con, Lapworth), lead member for the plan, said it was “never the deal” and never possible for the housing on the plan to be spread evenly throughout the district.”