Readers may have noticed the large yellow banner on the Banbury Road bridge in Warwick, warning of the consequences of unrestrained housing development in the area, and I know that extensive column inches have been devoted to this topic in your publication.
What readers may not know is that the chief executive of English Heritage, Simon Thurley, has added his voice to the debate about unrestrained and inappropriate development in England’s historic towns, and his words may bring comfort to those like myself who are apprehensive about the future of Warwick.
Speaking recently at the Henley Literary Festival, Mr. Thurley warned that “identikit” housing developments are now the “biggest and most worrying threat at the moment”.
He said: “If we think there has been a pressure to build houses already, we have seen nothing yet. After the next election, whoever is in power will really put their foot on the accelerator and will introduce, I suspect, more draconian measures to effectively force historic towns and cities to double or treble in size. This expansion is happening without due thought and attention being given to things like traffic, schools, the health service, hospitals, all those other things.”
He added: “I think the biggest and most worrying threat we have at the moment is these huge identikit slabs of housing being tacked on places like Henley, and King’s Lynn, Dorchester, Worcester, Chichester - I could go on - without properly thinking about how to do it”.
Speaking of the consequences of building, he concluded: “I think in the next five or ten years, we risk losing something that has been protected for many centuries.”
Maybe the Courier should invite Mr Hurley to come and see the banner on the bridge, and to add Warwick to his list of endangered historic towns.
Dale Fittes, Myton Road, Warwick