Controversial plans to increase the amount of larger houses to be built on land off Common Lane in Kenilworth have been approved by Warwick District Council’s planning committee.
The number of private four and five-bedroom houses out of the 93 set to be built at the ‘Crackley Triangle’ site will now increase from 11 to 33, and the number of two-bed and three-bed homes has been reduced to make the build viable.
Although there will still be 37 affordable houses on the site, developers Bloor Homes will contribute £623,000 less towards building them.
After a lengthy debate on Tuesday January 31, the planning committee approved the changes by six votes to five.
The main reason for the revised application was the increased costs in building the narrow access bridge to the site, which lies between two existing bridges on Common Lane.
Cllr Terry Morris (Con, Saltisford), wanted to refuse the plans because he felt the changes went too far.
He said: “We should be delivering affordable housing, but not at any cost.
“We’re not simply moving the goalposts here, we’re not asking for four minutes of extra time. This is the equivalent of asking for 45 minutes of extra time. Nothing I’ve heard has convinced me to support this.”
And planning chairman Cllr John Cooke (Con, St John’s) said Warwickshire County Council’s Highways’ approval of the new bridge was ‘absolutely nuts’ because of how narrow it is and its location.
He added: “Right from the get go this bridge has been a difficulty for the scheme. The costs to that bridge have increased dramatically. If you speak to anyone in Kenilworth, they all think it’s crazy.”
But Cllr Andrew Day (Con, Bishops Tachbrook) questioned whether it was worth losing the money from Bloor Homes towards the affordable houses for the sake of keeping the private house sizes the same.
He said: “It may have all sorts of issues around access but the fundamental point is we get the social housing we need.”
After the vote to approve the changes was tied at five votes each, Cllr Cooke gave the casting vote to approve the plans, claiming it was like ‘a stab in the heart’, but adding that Cllr Day’s comments convinced him.
Outline planning permission for the 93 houses was initially approved in 2014.