New year brings new wave of housing plans for Warwick district

In the same week that Warwick district was named the 11th most desirable place to live in the UK, campaigners are arming themselves to fight off the next wave of new year developments.

Groups across not only Warwick but Leamington, Whitnash and Bishops Tachbrook have been gathering evidence against the appeal to the Government to build 900 houses on farmland known as The Asps, west of Europa Way.

Warwick District Council rejected the application by Northamptonshire-based Barwood Strategic Land on the grounds that it was not part of the Local Plan.

Now a Government inspector will have to decide at a public inquiry.

But hot on the heels of this appeal, the Courier has learned that local developers Gallagher Estates have also lodged an appeal against the district’s refusal to allow them to build another 450 homes, which is also at Gallows Hill, west of Europa Way.

Councillors rejected the Gallagher application on heritage grounds. Views from the new homes are opposite the Grade I listed Warwick Castle park, and would contribute to urban sprawl.

David Williams, of the Save Warwick campaign, believes the district is under siege.

He admits he isn’t surprised that developers want to invade - especially in the light of two national surveys which have just put the district in the top ten for economic viability and moved it from 42nd to 11th place in the Halifax Quality of Life study.

Mr Williams said; “Those of us who care for Warwick can be forgiven for feeling besieged by developers.

“For many weeks we have been busy preparing our evidence for the appeal against the 900 houses at the Asps. Now we are faced with this other appeal by Gallaghers against the 450 more homes at Gallows Hill.

“Added to that is our anticipation of an application for another 250 homes in the same area coming from Hallam and William Davis in the next few weeks.”

Mr Williams said it wasn’t surprising that the success of the area was attracting potential developers like a magnet.

But he fears the very thing that attracts them is set to be destroyed if an organised resistance cannot be mounted.

He said: “We know the new planning laws load the dice very much in favour of developers. In most cases you might expect they would ride roughshod over the wishes of local people like us.

“However, we are convinced that, working with the district council - who also oppose both these developments - we will be able to present sufficient effective evidence to convince any planning inspector that these houses are not needed on this location.

“They would put intolerable pressure on local services, would clog up our streets with traffic and would be disastrous to some of the nation’s most important heritage assets.”

In a side swipe aimed at Barwood and Heathcote-based Gallaghers, Mr Williams added: “I also feel that the developers of Gallows Hill must be exceptionally naive if they were to think that by planting a few saplings alongside Banbury Road - which has happened over the last week or so - we will be convinced that their ugly development would disappear from view and objections dissipate.”