Jaguar Land Rover expansion plans finalised

Artists impression of the proposed new bridge
Artists impression of the proposed new bridge

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has formally submitted plans to double the size of its research and development centre in Whitley, which could create thousands of jobs.

A 60-acre site south of the A45, known as Whitley South, will be developed on and linked to the existing JLR site via a new bridge running over the A45. Half of the site will be used by JLR’s immediate suppliers.

A screenshot from JLR's promotional video for the expansion. Coventry Airport is on the left and the A45 is on right

A screenshot from JLR's promotional video for the expansion. Coventry Airport is on the left and the A45 is on right

The site’s expansion will mean encroachment onto green belt land within Warwick district, which has raised concerns from several people during the public consultation.

According to the National Planning Policy Framework, once green belt land has been established, its boundaries should only be altered in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Warwick District Council’s planning committee will have to decide whether the benefits the expansion could bring can be reasonably defined as exceptional.

Cllr Nick Harrington (Con, Stoneleigh and Cubbington), said: “There are no reasons provided that demonstrate exceptional circumstances to grant the development of offices, R&D facilities, light-industrial units, hotel or car showroom operations within the green belt.”

Three further objections from members of the public also made reference to green belt land being built on.

Other concerns raised in the objections referred to the potential effects on businesses in Baginton, wildlife populations, the amount of pollution and the amount of land being used for the expansion.

However, one member of the public supported the application due to the traffic calming measures proposed as part of a Section 106 agreement, where developers agree help improve a part of the local area on top of going ahead with their own plans.

Traffic signals will be built on the A45 slip road near Festival Island and the A444 near Whitley Island should the expansion plans be approved.

Cllr Andrew Mobbs, leader of Warwick District Council (WDC), said: “We are delighted that JLR is planning to make such a huge investment and commitment to our district. However, any planning application submitted to us needs to follow a strict planning process.”

The submission of the plans comes after months of negotiations between Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and JLR. The LEP has put in a bid for a £40 million Government grant to build the expansion’s infrastructure.

A date when the plans will be debated by WDC has yet to be decided.