Over 100 student apartments and five new shops are coming to Talisman in a divisive £10 million plan after councillors gave developers the go-ahead.
Warwick District Council’s planning committee voted to approve the plans on Tuesday December 6 by seven votes to four. No one from Kenilworth’s wards voted in favour.
The development, which will have 105 flats in total, will replace the temporary car park in the square and would create a ‘corridor’ of shops linking Warwick Road and Station Road.
But planning committee chairman Cllr John Cooke (Con, St Johns) expressed his disappointment with the plans and felt they were ‘greedy’.
He said: “Talisman was the place where the Christmas lights were switched on - after this, that won’t be able to happen any more. Perhaps I’m being a bit nostalgic.
“This application has used every possible centimetre of this site. They couldn’t have put more on it if they tried.
“It’s Talisman square now - after this it’s going to be ‘Talisman Alley’.”
Other concerns raised were about the lack of distance between the new development and nearby buildings as well as how dark it could get.
Cllr Felicity Bunker (Con, Park Hill) said: “It’s going to be quite a narrow walkway and the development will be much taller than the surrounding buildings.
“It will make it very dark and the distance separation I’m sure doesn’t meet our standards.”
Planning officer Gary Fisher said because of its location in the town centre the minimum distance was allowed to be smaller than usual.
Cllr Amanda Stevens (Con, Manor) spoke in favour of the development. She said: “It’s far better to have purpose-built student accommodation than in residential streets where possible. It will enhance the appearance of Talisman.”.
Hugo Hawkings, chief executive of developers Discovery Properties, said he was delighted to secure planning permission for the re-development.
He advised the works might not begin imminently due to delays during the planning process.
He said: “We are delighted to have been granted planning consent to continue our investment in the development of Talisman.
“Developing the north side of the centre has been an important part of our long-term vision for Talisman and will bring multiple benefits to Kenilworth, including new retailers, jobs and wealth to the town and the surrounding area.”
The group aim now to complete the development before September 2019 in time for the academic year to start.