Local people need to have an input on racecourse plan

Last September I wrote to the Courier on a note of optimism that Warwick District Council, instead of just implementing the Warwick Racecourse-inspired business strategy for St Mary’s Lands in Warwick, (the strategy authors, GVA, specialise in advising racecourses how to diversify from horseracing to improve profit margins), there would now be a working group to consider the “Lands” future.

Having written to the chief executive of WDC to ask if a local residents’ association could be represented, I have been informed that the working group, will only consist of district and town councillors and a representative of each of the organisations that rent land from the district council, (two of which, the racecourse and the golf centre are in business to make a profit).

They are regarded as “stakeholders”, but it would seem that those people who regularly use St Mary’s Lands for recreation, walkers, joggers, dog walkers, etc. i.e. mainly local residents, are not. That stance contrasts sharply with the district council’s attitude to the Warwick Mop, where public comments have been sought prior to making any recommendation for the future.

If local people are not allowed to have any input into the deliberations then there is a danger that recommendations on how St Mary’s Lands will be developed in the future could be based on a flawed, (WDC have admitted to uncorrected errors in the report), ‘strategy’ document biased in favour of one or two ‘commercial’ enterprises rather that the wishes of the Warwick district populace as a whole.

Please, people of Warwick district, say how you want to see St Mary’s Lands used in the future and request a survey similar to that the council have already used for the future of the Warwick Mop.

Peter Kerr, Bread and Meat Close, Warwick