Green belt still needs protection

The Coventry Gateway public inquiry took well over a year, from the announcement of the inquiry by the Secretary of State to his decision and involved a great deal of hard work by all the people involved, including a team from CPRE.

Yet the case was a very simple one. The appellants wanted to build on Green Belt land. They acknowledged that this was inappropriate but alleged “very special circumstances” in the form of jobs. The inspector and the Secratary of State both said, very firmly, that there were no “very special circumstances” and the application was refused.

Yet the applications still want to build on the 741 acres to the north and south of Coventry Airport and Warwick District Council is anxious to help them. So it hopes to persuade the inspector who will examine its Draft Local Plan that the land should be taken out of the Green Belt and to designate it for employment uses.

Why should this be? There is plenty of room for the proposed buildings and the jobs that go with them, elsewhere and no need for them at all on this site.

So CPRE Warwickshire firmly opposes this, for the damage to the countryside would be terrible. Baginton would be swallowed up into Coventry and the countryside round Bubbenhall and Stoneleigh would be seriously spoiled.

We will therefore do our best to see that the designation of this land as Green Belt remains in the impending Warwick District Council Local Plan.

Sir Andrew Watson, Chairman, Warwickshire CPRE