The masterplan for the development of land in Warwick has now received full backing.
The extensive plans for the sporting and recreational facility at St Mary’s Lands are the outcome of a two-year consultation process with the St Mary’s Lands Working Party, which is made up of the Corps of Drums, Friends of St Mary’s Lands, Golf Centre, Hill Close Gardens, Warwick Racecourse, Racing Club Warwick Football Club, Warwick Town Council, Warwickshire County Council, Warwick District Council and the Warwick Society.
Masterplan proposals for the development have been approved by Warwick District Council’s full council following Executive sign-off in June.
The plan will see improvements to the landscape, enhancement to the frontage of Hill Close Gardens, a cycle link from Hampton Road to Saltisford Brook, improvements to pedestrian access, footpaths and parking, a new play area adjacent to the Forbes estate and modifications to the toilet facilities at the Golf Club and Racing Club Warwick to allow for public access.
A new entrance to the racecourse is also a major part of the project
Cllr Noel Butler, an Executive member of Warwick District Council and a member of St Mary’s Lands Working Party, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to regenerate the facilities for the local community and develop a unique visitor attraction for locals and tourists to enjoy, which will boost the local economy.
“It has been a fully inclusive consultation process where we have sought out and listened to the views of the local community and their own requirements.
“Having worked so closely with the Friends of St Mary’s Lands during the development of the masterplan, we will continue to consider reasonable proposals for the improvement of St Mary’s Lands.”
The Friends of St Mary’s Lands group held a meeting on Monday to discuss the plans which were unanimously not supported.
The lack of support came after concerns regarding the hotel, safety of the cyclepath and the additional parking opposite Bread and Meat Close.
The council addressed the concerns of the group at the meeting.
In response to the issue with the cycle path the council responded: “The proposed alternative route is considered to be the safer option, as it takes the cycle track away from areas where cars would be parking and manoeuvring.”
In terms of the hotel issues raised they responded “The hotel location received a positive response at the public consultation, when respondents were asked if the proposed location was a good suggestion.
“When the public were asked: ‘Is there a need for more hotel rooms in Warwick to support the local economy?’ It was not supported but only very marginally.
“The Council has since commissioned an economic review of the hotel market in Warwick and the surrounding area and this supports the need for additional hotel beds in the town.”
The Friends of St Mary’s Lands also discussed the potential of a competition to rename the lands, which they strongly objected to.
Again the council responded. They said: “The competition is not to change the name, but to invite suggestions for a new name; however, retaining it can be one of the options. The Friends previously supported this proposal.”