Warwickshire County Council is to fork out for a major road scheme so that housing developments on the outskirts of Kenilworth can proceed.
Up to £6.6m will be funded from the council’s coffers over the next two years to carry out improvements to the A452/A46 interchange known as the Thickthorn Roundabout. The money will then be replaced from developer s106 contributions in relation to the housing schemes to the east of the town.
Cllr Wallace Redford (Con, Cubbington and Leek Wootton), the portfolio holder for transport and planning explained: “Highways England have put a condition on development that no more than 150 homes can be occupied before the Thickthorn improvement works are completed.
“By choosing to develop these works as a council project we also gain the ability to ensure that the design of the scheme and timing of the works coincide and integrate the Kenilworth to Leamington cycle scheme.
“Forwarding developer infrastructure works is not our normal practice as it places an additional financial risk on the authority but in this case, due to the synergies with the Kenilworth to Leamington cycle scheme and significant amounts of expected s106 funding from the developers, we believe it to be low risk and good use of public sector resources.”
Around 1,400 houses are expected to be built on the land east of Kenilworth along with schools and other key infrastructure. The first application was submitted to Warwick District Council in 2018 which was for 640 homes to be built by Catesby Estates Limited.
Cllr Peter Butlin (Con, Admirals and Cawston) supported the plan, adding: “What we are doing here is forward funding so that the public have the infrastructure up front. In many countries they put the infrastructure in first and build afterwards and we are trying to do that here.”
Cllr Jonathan Chilvers put forward an amendment asking that the cycle and walking routes were given priority when the changes were made to the Thickthorn Roundabout.
He said: “So often the walking and cycling paths get left to the end as an add-on. We can take the opportunity to prioritise walking and cycling connections in this new development.”
There was support for the amendment from the Liberal Democrat group but the controlling Conservative group voted it down prior to the original proposal being approved.