News that thousands of houses are still coming to Kenilworth in Warwick district’s Local Plan has received a mixed reaction.
The government’s Planning Inspector recently recommended sites for houses near Milverton, Lillington and Cubbington, among others, be taken out of the plan, but all sites in and around Kenilworth should stay.
Cllr Michael Coker said the inspector’s recommendations were ‘fully expected’, but concerns still remained over the future of certain sites in the plan.
He added: “The area I’m most concerned about is the land around Burton Green insofar as it’s in a very congested area anyway. It’s being attacked from both sides.”
But Cllr Coker also said the news was good as the Kenilworth Neighbourhood Plan, which had been stuck in limbo due to the delay on the inspector’s comments being released, can finally proceed.
The Neighbourhood Plan would fit alongside the district’s Local Plan, and would control development at a much more specific level to the town.
The plan states an overall ‘vision’ for the town, which is: ‘to grow Kenilworth whilst improving the environment which makes it the town we all want to live, work, do business in and which people want to visit.’
To achieve this, the plan lists several policies which relate to keeping the style, design and layout of housing appropriate for Kenilworth, ensuring new developments become part of the community, protecting green spaces like Abbey Fields, encouraging a ‘thriving’ town centre, improving transport links and preserving Kenilworth’s heritage.
If accepted, the plan and its policies would have to be adhered to in any new planning applications in the town.
Cllr Coker said: “I’m very pleased because I don’t know how many times I’ve said the plan is almost ready – it’s been hanging over us for ages.
“What we want is for people to be very interested in the Neighbourhood Plan. It’s impossible to pick up everything but we think we’ve picked up most things in the plan that people want.
“But if we can get this right, we won’t spoil Kenilworth, hopefully we’ll improve it.”
The Labour District Group felt more houses could go on the sites near Kenilworth to ease the pressure on sites near Leamington.
The site at Kings Hill is earmarked for 1,800 homes, but has a capacity for 4,000 by the end of 2029. Labour group leader Cllr John Barrott felt this capacity should be taken up sooner rather than later.
He said: “We are hopeful that our arguments to give priority to Kings Hill and Westwood Heath will be heard.
“This will co-locate housing more closely to jobs and reduce congestion and pollution – as we have been urging since the General Election campaign over two years ago.”
Details of the consultation, which runs until Friday May 5, are online here