Giant leap for Rugby’s Biart Place

Plans for 100 new council homes in Rugby have gained unanimous backing despite concern that not enough of them will cater for large families.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee passed an application for the authority to build flats, maisonettes and houses where the now-demolished high-rise flats used to be at Biart Place, Rugby, around one mile from the town centre.

There will be four three-storey blocks of flats featuring 52 one-bed and eight two-bed units. Alongside that there will be 20 one-bed maisonettes and 20 houses, seven with two bedrooms, nine with three and four with four.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The area’s strategic housing market assessment (SHMA) recommends that 20-25 per cent of affordable homes in developments should have three bedrooms with 5-10 per cent having four bedrooms or more.

Biart Place as it used to be. Photo: Google Street ViewBiart Place as it used to be. Photo: Google Street View
Biart Place as it used to be. Photo: Google Street View

However, the council’s report says the split laid out in the plans delivers “the property types with the greatest identified local need”.

It adds: “Additionally, the mix of dwellings, sizes and tenures has been requested by the local authority’s housing team based on the current and projected demand of the borough’s social housing needs and regarding the previous on-site social housing provision.”

The two recently demolished blocks housed 124 flats alongside eight maisonettes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cllr Bill Lewis (Lib Dem, Rokeby & Overslade) asked: “In my ward, we have had at least two requests in recent times for larger properties. Availability is very scarce in the town.

“I know housing keep a record of the requests they get but I notice the table indicates the SHMA target for those properties is 5-10 per cent, the actual is just four per cent.

“Has housing given you any figures regarding requirements?”

Planning officer Paul Varnish replied: “Generally speaking, the housing mix should comply with the SHMA.

"Because this is quite a different application, it is replacing council-owned affordable housing flats, we haven’t gone along with that guidance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We have been guided by our housing team, they are the experts on it and probably the ones who know what is needed.

“I take your point that there are fewer four-beds, a very low percentage, but we have been guided by them. It is not something we have questioned really.”

Cllr Lewis said: “I am just concerned it is perpetuating the shortfall in that kind of property.”

Despite that, the addition of social housing was welcomed and voted through by the planning committee without dissent.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chair Cllr Tony Gillias (Con, Revel & Binley Woods) said: “It does sound exciting, this application.

“It will be exciting for the people that move into these new properties.”

It was also confirmed in the meeting that, as reported by the Advertiser last week, the council will not be making requested contributions for health – or education – on the basis there will be fewer residents in the future than in the past.

People moved out largely in 2018 so the site has had no residents for some four years but council officers confirmed that the rules meant the comparison was with Biart Place’s numbers as they were when the old blocks were in use.