Warwickshire infrastructure plan will make developers pay

Cllr Bill Gifford
Cllr Bill Gifford
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To cope with a projected 75,000 increase in the county’s population, the need for schools, doctors’ surgeries and libraries will also be included in Warwickshire’s strategic infrastructure plan.

The population of Warwickshire now stands at an estimated 548,729, according to the Office for National Statistics and based on the mid-2013 population estimates.

But by 2037 it is estimated that Warwickshire’s population will increase to 623,900 – up nearly 14 per cent.

The Warwick District Council area will go up by 20,900 to 159,000 and in the Stratford District Council area it will rise by 13,900 to 134,500.

Bill Gifford, a Lib Dem county councillor for Milverton, put forward the motion for the changes, backed at a recent Shire Hall meeting.

He said: “Warwickshire needs a strategic infrastructure plan in order to get new schools built for new communities. It needs the plan so that we get the roads and cycle ways that are vital for our economy.

“ We are already getting large developments agreed to the south of Warwick and there must be adequate infrastructure for them.

“We need a plan to ensure that developers make an appropriate contribution, because developers won’t be forced to pay unless the council has a good case for the infrastructure backed by evidence.”

Also a member of Warwick District and Leamington Town councils, he added: “We have a much better chance of providing that case if we have a strategic infrastructure plan for the whole county.”

On a smaller scale, Cllr Gifford said pressure by cycling groups, support from Sustrans and work by the county council will see a safer route for cyclists and pedestrians from north to south Leamington in place soon through an unused railway arch near Morrison’s.

He said: “This corner where Princes Drive meets Park Drive has for too long been a dreadful pinch point.”

The councillor contacted Trilogy, which developed the old Ford Foundry site to include Morrison’s, but it could not reach an agreement with Network Rail about changes.

But Cllr Gifford said: “Thanks to continued pressure a new route will be made through the arch. I am glad to say it looks as though it should be possible for the work to be finished within a few 
months.”