Challenging issues to be overcome in creation of South Warwickshire Local Plan

Warwick and Stratford district councillors said it was important that community facilities were included when planning for future housing growth and this could see the creation of a number of new towns.
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Challenging issues will need to be addressed in the creation of the new South Warwickshire Local Plan which is being drawn up by Stratford and Warwick District Councils.

That was the message from Stratford’s head of development John Careford when he gave a progress report on the plan at last week’s overview and scrutiny committee.

The first stage of the plan will be presented to a joint cabinet/executive committee of the two councils on Wednesday (December 7) ahead of consultation which starts in January.

Mr Careford said: “If we want to achieve the things which I know that you members want to achieve, that is climate change, good design, biodiversity etc, then we do need to address the things we may not like quite as much and there are some challenging issues that we need to deal with through the local plan.”

Councillors said it was important that community facilities were included when planning for future housing growth and this could see the creation of a number of new towns.

A housing and economic development needs assessment (HEDNA) has identified a need for 345 hectares of land for office and general industrial development in South Warwickshire up to 2050 and the need to deliver 1,679 new homes each year.

Cllr Kate Rolfe (Lib Dem, Tiddington) said: “Trinity Mead was meant to have a community centre in the middle of the development and it never happened. There are 846 properties on Trinity Mead. These developments we are building could have 6,000 houses so community infrastructure is extremely important.”

And Cllr Tony Dixon (Con, Tanworth) added: “If you have 12,000 population living in 6,000 homes then you are looking at something bigger than Alcester. Therefore any new town would have to have churches, medical centres, schools, playing fields, the whole kit and caboodle.

“That potentially would give us the greater opportunity that all that infrastructure is in there from the start rather than relying upon getting those facilities into extended units of 800 here and 600 there. I see that as a golden opportunity to get things right from the start.”

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Mr Careford explained that it would take many years for any new large-scale development to be built.

He said: “We are having a 25-year plan period on this one to give us the head space and time to get it right. If we are going down the new settlement route then in reality you won’t see them coming forward for another ten or 15 years.

"There would have to be other forms of development to maintain that supply but the opportunity is one we can seize on.

“The other thing about going big is that you get that threshold which helps sustain a greater range of facilities which I think creates a greater sense of community. It also has climate benefits because people are not travelling as much.

"There is a real potential for new settlements so it is interesting to see what comes out of this consultation.”

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