Milverton mobilises against use of green belt land in Local Plan

Warwick District Local Plan Modifications 2016

Warwick District Local Plan Modifications 2016

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Villagers in Old Milverton and people living in north Leamington are mobilising against plans to build hundreds of houses on green belt land as part of the Local Plan.

Old Milverton and Blackdown Joint Parish Council has organised a meeting next week for those who want to fight the proposal.

The plan includes 250 new houses to be built on green belt along the Kenilworth Road, north of Milverton, as part of Warwick District Council’s district-wide Local Plan - which has the overall aim of providing 17,000 new homes across the area by 2029.

Potential infrastructure requirements for what would be the new estate include a park and ride scheme, open space including playing fields and allotments and employment land.

The site also has the capacity for up to 900 more houses, although these would not be required in the existing plan.

People living near the earmarked site are concerned that the ‘valuable’ land is being sacrificed to help cover Coventry’s housing shortage for which extra developments are being included in the Local Plan.

District councillor Bill Gifford (Lib Dem, Leamington Milverton) said: “I voted against the Local Plan for the reason that I want to protect this land. The district council has said there must be exceptional circumstances for green belt land to be used but at present I am still waiting to hear what those circumstances are. It clearly makes more sense for Coventry’s housing need to be closer to the city - we don’t want to encourage commuting of longer distances than are necessary.”

Cllr Gifford said that by changing the status of the site from green belt to ‘safeguarded’ land, the council was leaving it open for further development, making it more favourable for developers than the needs of the community.

He said that King’s Hill, the closest site to Coventry on the local plan and with a capacity for up to 4,000 homes, would be a more suitable site to help with the city’s need.

He said: “As things stand the council can not build more than 200 houses per year on a site but that is not the case in Gloucestershire where the rate is 300.

“If we had that delivery rate at Kings Hill, then the housing need could be absorbed by that site and there would not be the need to use green belt in north Leamington.”

The meeting takes place at Old Milverton church in Old Milverton on Monday (March 14)from 8pm.