Reprieve for Leamington industrial estate businesses as student flats plans are rejected
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Businesses in a Leamington industrial estate have been given a reprieve tonight as plans to replace their premises with a 328-bed student complex were rejected.
Warwick District Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to refuse HGL Leamington Ltd’s proposals to demolish existing buildings in the Althorpe Street industrial estate and build the three-building/six storey-site in their place.
The grounds for the refusal by the committee, which went against the authority’s planning officers’ recommendation to grant permission for the scheme to go ahead, included loss of employment, noise issues, parking problems and an ‘unsafe pedestrian environment’ which would be detrimental to highway and the scheme’s impact on the conservation area.
Business owners in Althorpe Street had protested against the amended plans, the originals of which were also refused permission in 2019.
Hundreds of objections had also been made against the proposals.
Judith Swinson, of Swinson’s Masonry in Althorpe Street, said: “The businesses in the Althorpe Street Industrial Estate, are all really pleased with the outcome.
"Common sense prevailed and the councillors were spot on in stating that so many of the Council's own policies were being breached by the developer and WDC's own planners.
"The sheer fabrication from the developer, in regards to the amount of job losses being 15 instead of 50, was astounding .
"Hopefully, this will be the end of the matter,
"However, as one of our councillors stated last night, if it does go to appeal he, the businesses and the local community will all stand together to ensure this development will not go ahead.”
Meg Bond, a member of the SoLAR south Leamington campaign group, added: “This is testament to the collective efforts of Althorpe Street businesses, their customers, local residents and the wider community, who came together to achieve this fantastic outcome.”
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western had also spoken against the plans and had urged councillors to reject them.
He said: “The decision is a relief for the wider community but especially for the small businesses that operate on the small industrial estate in Althorpe Street.
“I’m delighted for them as their livelihoods were genuinely at stake.
“Business owners such as Swinsons Memorials, the Art Group Studios and the Car Doctor bravely stood up to huge pressure from the developers and I want to congratulate them.
"Residents were alarmed by the proposals and Leamington Together were instrumental in raising awareness on this. Great work too by Labour Cllrs Mini Mangat and Chris King in helping corral opposition.
“And final credit too goes to Warwick District Council planning committee for listening to the public - it was important.
“More fundamentally, I hope this marks a turning point in the need for developers and authorities to work more closely with communities in future.
“I hope I can help bring that about.”
HGL had said the plans, which also include commercial floor space, would deliver a ‘highly sustainable mixed use development’ and create working space for 135 jobs enhancing both the area and its economy.
After the meeting, the applicant said: “"Naturally, HGL is disappointed with the outcome of last night's planning committee.
"We are currently reviewing our options in the light of the committee's decision."
For more information about the plans visit https://bit.ly/3xBs7Ml