Hundreds of houses at Asps will not be challenged

MHLC-29-08-13 Housing Aug83'Development of land for houses, south of Warwick at Gallows Hill and Europa Way. ENGNNL00120130829102330
MHLC-29-08-13 Housing Aug83'Development of land for houses, south of Warwick at Gallows Hill and Europa Way. ENGNNL00120130829102330

A government decision to allow 900 homes off Europa Way will not be legally challenged by the council after advice that chances of success are low.

Warwick District Council this week announced it will not launch a legal challenge on the Asps housing decision despite a “deep-rooted disappointment” in its outcome.

The council refused permission for the houses in 2014 but an appeal was this year upheld by the Secretary of State for Local Government to help meet the district’s housing shortage.

The council decision was made this week in light of “the amount of time, money and resources” which it would take to launch a legal challenge which even if approved - will only mean the decision could be reviewed again.

A council spokesperson said while it believes any damage to heritage and the landscape outweighs the housing supply issues, legal advice has shown this argument cannot be used to challenge the decision and that confidence in success is low.

Andrew Mobbs, leader of the Conservative council, said while the decision was not an easy one, it was right for the authority.

He said: “I am bitterly disappointed by the appeal decision, as I strongly believe we need to be planning for the right development in the right place.

“This is exactly why it is important to progress our Local Plan as quickly as possible, as with an adopted plan we can avoid this type of unplanned development from happening again.”

Neither the Save Warwick campaign group nor Historic England will launch legal challenges to the homes.

A Historic England statement read: “We can confirm that we have had a look at the Asps case and cannot see a justification, from our perspective, to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision. 

“I must say we are disappointed at the result and appreciate the difficulties it will inevitably create with respect to housing allocations in your district.”

The Asps Farm site between Europa Way and Banbury Road now has permission for up to 900 homes, a primary school and Park and Ride facility with 500 parking spaces after the Secretary of State overruled the council’s refusal.

A second application at Gallows Hill - which will also not be challenged - joins the northern part of the Asps site and outlined up to 450 homes and a country park. Following an appeal of the council’s refusal in 2014, this application was also granted.

One of the reasons the houses were approved on the previously rejected site was to meet a lack of new housing as the council has not yet had a Local Plan for development approved.

A challenge would have set this decision back further and meant the homes now approved could not be included in existing housing figures.