There is a strong risk that Warwick district’s Local Plan will be rejected if senior councillors approve it next week, the chairman of the Warwick Society has warned.
The society has also met with a number of other groups that are opposed to building on greenfield land near Warwick and Leamington - and all agree that the plan, which was published in its definitive form last week, still includes too many houses (12,900) and too much sprawl over the countryside.
Society chairman James Mackay said: “We think there is a very strong risk that the plan will be found unsound.
“The housing number is not supported by the evidence, which is one of the fundamental requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework. It’s simply a figure handed down by the Office for National Statistics, which itself said you cannot sensibly forecast beyond 2021. The district council is proposing to forecast up to 2029.”
He acknowledged that the council is under pressure to build houses, but he said: “Whether houses are built depends on the market, which is very weak with only faint glimmerings of recovery. People cannot afford to buy the houses the developers will build.”
The society also feels that the plan will lead to more congestion and pollution and increase car use - which Mr Mackay says could be avoided by building on brownfield sites, which tend to be closer to schools and shops than greenfield sites.
He said: “There have been two rounds of consultation which showed that more than 90 per cent of people are against development on greenfield sites - but the council pressed on. There is a serious political problem here.
“If the council agrees to this plan, they will be leaving a problem which will only emerge at the examination in public just before the local and general elections, when people will pass judgement.”