Up to 2,500 homes are to be built on land between Kenilworth and Coventry after councillors gave plans the green light at their meeting this week.
Two schools and a shopping centre will also be included in the development on Kings Hill Lane by Midlands-based Lioncourt Homes along with a series of road improvements.
Members of Warwick District Council’s planning committee voted last night (Tuesday December 3) overwhelmingly to grant outline planning permission in spite of opposition from residents and six parish and town councils.
They were told that the principle of building on the former green belt land had already been agreed after the council entered into a deal with Coventry to help meet their housing requirements.
Coventry City councillor Cllr Tim Sawdon (Con Wainbody) spoke passionately at the meeting, arguing that it would be ‘utterly irresponsible’ to approve the plans.
He said: “Living in Stoneleigh and representing Finham on Coventry City Council, I think I’m probably uniquely qualified to understand why this application is so flawed.
“Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, Burton Green, Bagington, Bubbenhall and Finham along with ward councillors all believe the infrastructure is inadequate and they are not wrong.
"In peak hours the traffic queues all the way down Stoneleigh Road and back through Stoneleigh village leave traffic from the southern slip road of the A46 at a standstill. The proposed Stoneleigh junction scheme will make no difference and the expansion of the university will only make it worse.
“We all know that Coventry’s housing needs have been grossly overestimated and that dumping the surplus on Kings Hill was a last minute act to get Warwick District Council’s plan approved. The infrastructure was hardly considered.
“As planning members you are under pressure to approve this tonight but in reality there is no urgency to do so until all the ducks are in a row and at the moment they are flapping around aimlessly.
“This whole application is riddled with ifs, buts and maybes and a massive dose of wishful thinking. It would be utterly irresponsible to approve this.”
But councillors on the planning committee said they had little choice but to agree to the plans.
Cllr Tony Heath (Ind Whitnash) explained: “Although this is a major development in the area it is in our local plan and this is only an outline application at the moment. When it comes up for reserved matters we need to control it as much as possible.
Cllr Jerry Weber (Lab Leamington Clarendon) added: “I feel we have to approve this and if I was living in Finham then I wouldn’t be very happy. But it is in our local plan, it has been accepted by the [Planning] Inspector and I’m afraid we have no choice. If we refused this application and it went to appeal we would lose.”