Local Plan consultation ‘a sham’, claims rural group

editorial image

A rural organisation has claimed the latest consultation on Warwick District’s Local Plan is ‘a sham’ because of the ‘secretive way’ it was changed.

The Warwickshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) recently wrote to the Planning Inspector Kevin Ward, responsible for modifying the plan to make it sound, claiming the talks between him and Warwick District Council were not transparent.

The group also criticised the amount of housing being proposed in the plan.

Mark Sullivan of CPRE said: “The current consultation is a sham. The secretive way in which the plan has been dealt with since its public examination and the lack of explanation for the modifications now being proposed means that interested parties have been kept in the dark and cannot respond effectively.

“The plan is hugely controversial and the public are being denied the information they need to challenge it.

“This is nothing like the open, transparent process the Government says it wants for local plans.”

Mr Ward’s modifications resulted in 740 houses being cut from the amount put forward by the council in its latest version of the plan, leaving a total of 17,139 houses to be built in the district.

Proposed sites removed from the plan included land north of Milverton off Kenilworth Road, which was earmarked for 250 houses, and land at Red House Farm in Lillington, also for 250 houses.

There were no changes to major sites in and around Kenilworth, including 1,800 homes north of Kenilworth at King’s Hill and 425 at Westwood Heath.

Leader of the council Cllr Andrew Mobbs refuted the group’s claims, and said they had ‘no substance’.

He said: “The inspector requested the modifications were kept confidential until the plan was ready for publication. I have no doubt that he followed the correct procedure.”

The consultation on the latest modifications lasts until Friday May 5. Details can be seen here