Under normal circumstances, I would not write to you regarding planning matters as the work of the planning committee has always been non-partisan and non-political. On the other hand, much space was taken up on your letters’ page last week by three correspondents who wrote at length about the shortcomings of the decision regarding two major applications for social and affordable housing. I am afraid that their comments are misleading.
I have spoken to my two Labour colleagues on the committee and the two other councillors who made objection to the developments on the Newbold Centre on Leicester Street and Sydenham Industrial Estate. Both of these applications were turned down not because members of the committee felt that the developments were inappropriate or not needed but due to significant problems with the plans. In one of the developments, the refusal was based on a conflict between the needs of a valued business and employer and the living conditions of the new residents.
One of the correspondents said “he really hoped that plans will be resubmitted.” If he had listened to members of the committee, he would have heard a unanimous view that both schemes were in the right place and would form a much needed addition to our house stock providing homes for residents of Leamington. On both applications, the clear message from the committee was that they wanted to see the applications return with necessary adjustments. One of the applications has already come back to the planning office.
As leader of the district Labour group, I can confirm our absolute commitment to improving housing in the district particularly for social and affordable homes. On the other hand, housing developments cannot be rushed through on the nod as your correspondents suggest. Housing schemes are a permanent feature within the urban landscape. We need to get it right first time.
Cllr John Barrott, Leader, Warwick District Labour Group