Council plans to develop greenbelt land across Coventry are a step closer to reality after a public inquiry lasting months. Despite significant opposition from local residents, the Planning Inspector overseeing the inquiry has given the green light to the Council’s ‘Local Plan’.
Councillors are likely to vote on the Local Plan at Cabinet on the 28th November and finally at Full Council on Tuesday 5th December. A six week period in which a legal challenge can be launched will follow then the plans will be fully adopted. This will pave the way for planning applications on the green belt immediately.
In its ‘Local Plan’ the Council wants to see new homes built on greenbelt land at locations in Eastern Green, Keresley, Coundon Wedge and Westwood. It proposes a new shopping centre the size of Cannon Park on Eastern Green, 240 houses on Cromwell Lane and has earmarked several hectares of land for the construction of warehousing - similar to that approved at Lyons Park off Browns Lane.
Until now, the greenbelt status of sites such as those at Eastern Green and Keresley meant that planning applications for large scale developments were likely to be rejected by city planners. However, the new planning policy would make it available for development.
Conservative Councillors believe that brownfield sites should be developed before any greenbelt land is released. They’re also concerned that population growth estimates are wrong and exaggerate the growth in demand for housing. Figures quoted by the Council show Coventry growing more quickly than any other part of the region. Conservative Councillors believe it’s premature to implement this plan without reviewing the type of housing needed first. Such a study is set to be undertaken by the Council in 2018.
Speaking on the announcement Cllr Gary Ridley, Leader of the Conservative Group on Coventry City Council, said; “Brownfield sites must be developed before the greenbelt and there should be a review into the type of housing needed before any houses are built. Once the greenbelt is gone it’s gone forever and we need to develop our city sensitively and for the benefit of local residents. What we need is a local plan for local people - not a developer’s charter.”