Anger over green light for new Leamington development - which will have no affordable homes

Warwick District Council’s planning committee voted to grant permission for two blocks of flats to be built in Court Street – which were originally due to include up to 40 per cent of affordable housing before members agreed none was needed. Residents are suspicious the development will be used for student flats

Two Leamington councillors are furious that plans to build two blocks of flats in the south of the town have been given the green light despite no affordable housing being included in the scheme.

The decision was made at a Warwick District Council planning committee meeting last week.

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At the meeting, councillors and committee members Colin Quinney (Labour, Leamington Clarendon) and Ian Davison (Green Party, Leamington Brunswick) asked for the decision to be deferred to check the council’s legal position.

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This proposal was narrowly defeated.

Since then, both have written to the council asking whether policy and guidance was followed.

Cllr Quinney said: “At the meeting, Cllr Davison quoted both national guidance and the council’s own local plan to show that the correct procedures weren’t followed.

"On the night, the counter-arguments seemed weak, so we’re asking the council to review the decision and to tighten its procedures to ensure the affordable housing that we desperately need is built.”

Cllr Davison added: “Residents are suspicious that this 80-unit development with 71 studio/one person flats is designed for students, and furious that no local families may live there because of the complete absence of affordable housing.”

In response to Cllr Quinney’s comments and his appeal to his fellow councillors to refuse the application at the meeting, the council’s business and development manager Sandip Sahota, said: “It’s unfortunate we are not going to get the contributions we thought we were going to get, particularly with affordable housing.

"But we have a viability appraisal before us, which has been checked independently, and we can’t really get away from that.

"I don’t think we have any reasonable justification to go against the specialist advice.”

A vote whether to defer the decision, proposed by Cllr Quinney and seconded by Cllr Davison, resulted in five committee members voting for and five against.

Committee chairman Cllr Alan Boad (Lib Dem, Leamington Lillington) then used his casting vote against deferral.

To view the plans find W/19/0531 on the council’s planning portal.

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