Local plan

Traffic choked Warwick town centre
Traffic choked Warwick town centre

Town council leader Gerry Guest says he is still waiting to hear detailed plans for roads, schools and rising hospital admissions if 5,000 more homes are to be built in Warwick.

Cllr Guest, who also serves on the district council, is still arguing about what he and most other Warwick councillors see as the “disproportionate” number of new homes being proposed for south of the River Leam.

Councillors on both sides of the political divide believe the historic old town will be destroyed by the widened roundabouts and roads needed to cope with all the new “garden suburbs” being proposed for Warwick, Whitnash and all the villages in between.

The district’s Local Plan for growth over the next 15 to 20 years, required by the government, is already late for delivery.

And Cllr Guest, who has represented the town as a Conservative for more than 30 years, admits: “My fear is that if we can’t reach a decision on these proposals then a government inspector in Bristol or London will do it for us.

“But how long must we wait for a final decision from county officers on their ideas for the infrastructure to service all these new properties?

“Is it going to take as long as the discussions over Jury Street?

“Everyone accepts that we have to have some new homes for people. But Warwick is being asked to find room for 5,000 extra houses and flats while Kenilworth only has to find space for 700.”

Labour county councillor John Holland, shares Cllr Guest’s fears that final decisions could be taken out of the local authority’s hands if agreement cannot be reached.

But county officers say they have already provided a considerable amount of advice to town and district councillors regarding the transport implications of the Local Plan.

A spokesman said: “The Strategic Transport Assessments, which are available to view on the district council’s website, set out the key transport infrastructure and services which will be needed to allow the proposed housing and employment growth across the area to come forward in a sustainable manner.

“In parallel with this, but not explicitly linked to this timeframe, the county is about to carry out a piece of work which will consider the merits of adopting a number of alternative approaches regarding the long-term strategy for dealing with traffic and transport issues.”

If 12,300 homes are built it could mean 30,000 residents.