A Leamington charity is facing an uncertain future after controversial plans to build flats on the site of its shop were given the green light.
The proposed development in Court Street was approved by Warwick District Council’s planning committee last week meaning that recycling charity Action 21 and businesses on the site now face the difficulty of finding new premises.
The two blocks of flats, with up to 90 bed spaces, were originally due to include up to 40 per cent of affordable housing before committee members agreed none was needed.
Residents are suspicious the development will be used for student flats.
Belinda Pyke, Action 21’s chair of trustees, said the plans could ‘wipe out’ smaller businesses and damage the area.
She said: “We were just getting back on our feet after Covid, but we’re now left in a very uncertain situation about our premises - and we know it won’t be easy to find another of the size we require,” she said.
“We’re recognised as a partner on climate change by local councils – and we were a representative on the Citizens’ Inquiry Oversight Panel on the climate emergency last year.
“We’re an environmental charity aiming to stop waste going to landfill instead getting people to re-use and recycle – and we do a good job!
“It’s just going to completely change the character of the nice little community we’ve created here.
“It’s also very concerning for our 50 volunteers and our three full-time staff members.”
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western is also in opposition to the plans saying the omission of affordable housing goes against Warwick District Council’s own housing policy and national planning requirements.
He said: “We have a serious housing crisis and more so in our community where the wrong housing is being built in the wrong places.”
Planning committee member Councillor Colin Quinney (Labour, Leamington Clarendon) asked for the decision to be deferred to check the council’s legal position.
But committee chairman Cllr Alan Boad (Lib Dem, Leamington Lillington) used his casting vote to turn down the request before the plans were approved.