Wrong place for so many houses

It would seem that the Labour candidate for Warwick and Leamington, Lynnette Kelly is seeking to solve the housing problems for both Coventry and Warwick in one fell swoop, by proposing the development of a huge housing complex on a protected green field site at Kings Hill, sadly she does not seem to have thought it through.

Firstly lets look at the location. Kings Hill is part of Warwickshire in the protected green belt and lies between the Stoneleigh Road, Kenilworth Road and Green Lane. I also believe that it is of local archeological merit because of the remains of a medieval village, although I hesitate to mention that in case it is then decided by the powers that be that the land could be considered to be a brown field site due to its medieval housing connections. The site has been suggested as having potential to build 5,000 houses and is partly owned by Coventry City Council.

I do not believe this development will maintain the separation of Kenilworth and Coventry in the long term, however, I was under the impression that protecting Kenilworth from the urban area of Coventry was part of the long term plan for the district.

What exactly are the exceptional circumstances that merit building on this green field site? There are many brown field sites in Coventry that could be developed for housing as there are in Warwick. They are more expensive to develop so is cost also a consideration here? Is this to some degree developer driven.

It is suggested that Warwick University employees and those working nearby, for example Westwood Business Park, could move nearer to their place of work by developing Kings Hill. Not all part of Warwick district so there again to help Coventry, if people actually can afford or want to live near their place of work.

There are serious matters to consider, such as sewage, environmental impact, the loss of agricultural land, the planned industrial site, emergency services cover will it be Warwick who are making sweeping cuts to their staffing levels, or Coventry providing emergency cover, where will there be a surgery, schools to accommodate the additional hundreds of children. I have to say that in its entirety the current infrastructure is totally lacking and serious improvements will be needed.

Also I believe the development will have a detrimental effect on the character of the area. Although it could of course put a stop to other green field site development in the district if there is some kind of swap for housing planned for another greenfield site, but then that would only move the problem not resolve it.

I would further state that the Government announced a consultation on introducing permitted development rights/prior approval to make it easier to grant change of use to allow warehouses and light industrial buildings to be converted into homes in the 2014 Budget and there is every likelihood that these changes will be introduced.

This is I feel a very important development and something that could help to prevent the misuse of green field sites and good agricultural land for housing development. Perhaps the council should be waiting to see if the changes proposed under the consultation are implemented before rushing to shift proposed housing from one green field site to another within the Warwick district.

Jane Brooks, UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Warwick and Leamington