Villagers in fight against developer's plans in order to preserve 'the forgotten jewel of Leek Wootton'

CALA Homes has submitted proposals to build 83 homes on part of the Woodcote Estate on land which had previously been owned by Warwickshire Police as part of its headquarters site

Leek Wootton residents are fighting against a developers’ plans in order to preserve ‘the forgotten jewel’ of the village.

CALA Homes has submitted proposals to build 83 homes - 33 of which will be in the ‘affordable’ category - on part of the Woodcote Estate on land which had previously been owned by Warwickshire Police as part of its headquarters which covers a large part of the site.

In its latest newsletter The Leek Wottoon Focus Group (LWFG) has expressed its concerns about the future of wildlife on the estate in respect to the plans, while Leek Wootton and Guys Cliffe Parish Council has written a letter of objection against the proposals.

Extract from the WDC website - the areas in white on the Woodcote Estate have been stripped of Green Belt status. Courtesy of Warwick District Council.

On the Warwick District Council (WDC) online planning portal there are almost 240 letters of objection to the plans.

LWFG has said: “It is an obvious truth that if we do not know what we have, we cannot protect it.

"This has been the rather tragic tale in respect of the history, beauty and nature of Woodcote House and estate.”

"The effect of lack of public access has meant that knowledge and interest in the estate has dwindled over the years.

“The relevance of this to Cala's application is that they are intending to build on the most ecological rich part of the village and County.

"The proposed housing site forms a wildlife corridor from East Lodge to the Lunch and provides nesting for bats and habitat for many species

"The protection of Greenbelt status was removed from all of the estate with the exception of the Woodland.

"This was removed in 2017 on the basis of the police leaving the site and an agreed Masterplan, which required restoration of the estate.

" As none of this has occurred, it is our firm belief, supported by specialist legal opinion, that the council should treat the Estate as retaining its Greenbelt status when considering Cala’s application.

“This means that the proposed planning application could only succeed if there are truly exceptional circumstances.

"Simply building houses does not fulfil this requirement.”

The public consultation process for the plans is now over but villagers intend to fight the plans when they go before WDC’s planning committee.

CALA has said: “Prior to submitting the planning application, our draft proposals for part of the Warwickshire Police Headquarters were shared with the local community. We are aiming to create a new development that is in keeping with the local area and to help future development sit effortlessly alongside its surroundings.

We are also maintaining our commitment to providing 40% affordable homes. With this number available, we are allowing those who need it most the ability to access low-cost homes.

“Throughout our consultation, we have met a wide range of stakeholders and thank them all for their cooperation during this process.

"To understand the local view is important to us.

Read More

Read More
Photos: Much-loved ancient tree is removed from Jephson Gardens in Leamington

“We remain committed to actively engaging with stakeholders to bring forward the best scheme for the area, and will be working alongside council officers, elected representatives, and the public to do this.

For more information about the plans visit https://bit.ly/3ArCyEK