Angry reaction after developer appeals against rejected plans for 200 homes in Whitnash

As reported last week, the decision will go to a public inquiry

A developer’s appeal against rejected plans for 200 homes in a ‘giant’ Whitnash cul-de-sac has sparked opposition from residents and councillors.

MP Matt Western has slammed plans to build the ‘East Whitnash’ development - the size of 13 football pitches - next to the ‘already crowded’ Chesterton Gardens estate.

Developer AC Lloyd saw its planning application rejected by Warwick District Council planners in February, despite being recommended for approval (click here to read the story)

Left: Matt Western MP, Cllr Helen Adkins and worried Sydenham resident and Warwick District Councillor Cllr Mini Mangat. Right: Cllr Will Roberts.

But as we have reported, the developers have appealed against the decision and say they have addressed the concerns. (click here to read the story). The matter will now be decided at a public inquiry.

Residents have been joined by both local Labour and Green Party councillors who have campaigned against the plans since 2016.

Mr Western has cited major concerns about traffic, road safety, noise and air pollution.

The Warwickshire County Council Labour group leader Helen Adkins has also orchestrated a petition against it which was signed by nearly 500 residents.

Over 100 formal objections were submitted to the council’s planning committee – including one from Whitnash Town Council.

Concerned residents say construction of the existing Chesterton Gardens estate was only sanctioned on the basis another access road would be constructed.

And with still only a single access road planned for the proposed East Whitnash development plus the existing estate, resident of 21 years Christine Kenny says it will only compound neighbours’ misery.

“It’s the sheer volume of traffic and the noise is terrible already,” she said.

“And it’s unsafe. I’ve had four accidents happen directly outside my house in the time I’ve been living here.

“And it’s a giant cul-de-sac with only one way in and one way out!

“I’ve also lived through the second development which should never have gone ahead.

“Nobody can prepare you for the hell that it was with the construction traffic.

“It was like living on a motorway – lorries were constantly going by.

“It must not go ahead. But developers always seem to get their own way.”

Cllr Adkins said: “I stand firmly and decisively on the side of the residents on this issue as I have for four years.

“AC Lloyd is being belligerent in its approach by not respecting the decision of the planning committee made a few months ago.

“I will continue to take the voice of residents forward in this fight. This is my top priority.”

Warwick and Leamington MP, Mr Western, added: “If this plan is successful at appeal and goes ahead, it will ride roughshod over the wishes of Sydenham residents – and totally undermine local democracy."

Cllr Will Roberts from the Green Party, who has been campaigning against the plans for many years, said: "I’m glad that AC Lloyd's have recognised that their original plan failed to address resident concerns on traffic issues and the impact of noise pollution raised by so many residents. What I was hoping to see was a plan to address these: namely a second access route. Instead, what I have read is nothing more than an insult to those residents.

"Recognising that there is adverse noise impact is welcome. But the suggestion of sound insulation does nothing more than push residents to keep their windows closed and leave them unable to enjoy their gardens.

"Funding for off-site cycle routes does sound good, but where are the plans for this, how much is being offered and how much will it reduce vehicle journeys?

"As for the construction management plan, offering to stop HGV deliveries for two hours every day sounds like sticking two fingers up at residents at home the rest of the time.

"What we see here is an offering of style over substance from AC Lloyd. Once again they have failed to listen to local residents and are happy to push on and put their bottom line first over the wellbeing of people in the area. Whilst this plan only includes a single access route, I cannot support it and will continue to work with residents and councillors from all parties to stop this application."

Des Wynne, a director at AC Lloyd, said: “We have re-submitted our application for outline planning permission to create a mix of starter-to-five-bedroom homes.

“That will include 40 per cent affordable properties and we have made a commitment to increase the sustainable design standards to ensure every home has an EPC ‘A’ rating.

“We accept that the delivery of these much-needed houses will have some impact on the residents of Chesterton Gardens but we have done our utmost to mitigate these issues, and we believe none of them constitute a proper basis to reject the scheme and we would hope that would encourage members to accept the proposals.

“There is a substantial mitigation package agreed to address traffic and noise issues and as a result neither the County Highway Authority or the District Environmental Health Officers have raised objections.

“Since the planning committee was held, we have also carried out a more detailed safety audit at Brimstone End regarding the access point, and have also drawn up a traffic calming scheme for the existing roads leading up to the site access to reduce traffic speeds to 20mph in this area. This will support highway and pedestrian safety.

“Furthermore, we have included within the application an up-front construction traffic management plan to give more detail about how the construction stage would be managed, and particularly the avoidance of HGVs accessing the site at the start and end of the school day

“We also remain in dialogue with Campion School to buy a strip of land to create a road alongside the railway line to Chesterton Gardens for a further access route.”

“We have a national housing problem in the UK, delivering far fewer houses than are required, and the local authority is in danger of breaching its five-year housing land supply numbers if this scheme is not delivered.

“This is an allocated site in the Local Plan which is drawn up by the district council and the development will provide a significant contribution to the identified housing needs of an area as established through the plan.

“The scheme also delivers a significant extension to the green infrastructure at Whitnash Brook through a public open space and encouraging walking and cycling. This area of enhanced public open space will ensure the development delivers an overall net gain in biodiversity.

“There are also wider economic benefits since we are a local employer employing local people. A significant number of jobs will be retained and new ones created as a result of this scheme.

“As part of the usual section 106 agreements, our package would include funding a comprehensive traffic calming scheme, providing a dedicated parking space and external wall plug for electric vehicle charging at each home and creating pedestrian and cycle links

within the site as well as funding a nearby cycle network to improve connections to the site.”