Longbridge, with one of the few remaining remnants of historic landscape on the main route into Warwick, is currently designated as a Rural Area by the district council and thus “protected from inappropriate development that would destroy its character and is not essential to meet local needs.” Whilst the existing Local Plan does refer to the redevelopment or limited expansion of existing employment sites outside the Green Belt under certain very restricted conditions, it states clearly that this would not be allowed if “the scale of this will be greater than that required to meet local needs.”
Yet despite the fact that 80 per cent of Tournament Fields Business Park off Stratford Road, for which permission was granted back in 2000, still remains undeveloped, the district council’s new Local Plan now proposes that the large field opposite is also developed for commercial/industrial purposes, complete with a Gypsy and travellers’ site to be situated alongside the 16th century Longbridge Farm.
The impact of unnecessary and inappropriate industrial development on this scale at the entrance to the county town could do irreparable harm to its historic environment, with potential economic consequences for the town and its international image.
The residents of Warwick are immensely proud of their ancient town and deserve better than to have still more commercial buildings erected on what everyone believed to be a site protected by the council’s Rural Area policies.
John Berkeley OBE. Longbridge, Warwick