How the planning committee came to their decision to refuse 200 homes in Whitnash

As we reported earlier, plans for 200 homes in Whitnash were refused at tonight's planning meeting

Our Local Democracy Reporter David Lawrence was at tonight's meeting - here is his report.

Controversial plans to build 200 houses on land south of the Chesterton Gardens development in Whitnash have been thrown out for a second time.

The AC Lloyd scheme was refused in February and councillors at tonight’s [Wednesday's] planning committee of Warwick District Council voted seven-four in favour of blocking the application again.

Plans to build 200 homes in Whitnash have been refused - again.

MP Matt Western, town and district councillors and members of the public spoke against the scheme, arguing that issues highlighted three months ago had not been resolved.

One of these was the single point of access to the development site along Brimstone End which would see construction vehicles trundling through the existing housing estate. An alternative route through the grounds of Campion School had been suggested but remained unavailable.

Cllr Janet Alty, of Royal Leamington Spa Town Council - one of eight public speakers on the plans - summed up the feelings of the objectors. She said: “The original reasons for refusal do not appear to have been addressed - ie access in and out of the proposed estate by a single road and the traffic air quality impact on this area from the one road access.

“There hangs the problem - a single road access which is already taking construction traffic.

Until the second access is put in through Campion School, it is not acceptable to allow this plan to go ahead.”

A member of the Warwickshire branch of CPRE, the countryside charity, said the application was not substantially different to the one previously rejected while Mr Western questioned whether there was even a need for the extra houses.

Gary Fisher, the council’s development services manager, urged councillors to approve the scheme on a site which had been earmarked for houses in the local plan.

He said: “The application before committee this evening is a revised submission. The applicant has focused considerable time and effort in seeking to overcome the reasons for refusal.

“They are focussed around a traffic calming scheme designed to reduce traffic speeds to 20mph which will have clear highway safety and noise reduction benefits, a package of measures to encourage alternatives to the private car and other measures to reduce traffic noise and protect residential properties from any such noise.”

Dave Pilcher, from Warwickshire County Council, explained that talks were ongoing about creating an access through the school which would alleviate traffic problems for existing residents.

He said: “The school is not averse to allowing an access to go through there at some point. However, as members will be aware there, has been quite a lot of development work going on at Campion School to increase capacity and I think the head teacher would like the school to settle down a little bit before any further construction work and disruption goes ahead.”

Cllr Terry Morris (Con, Warwick Saltisford) proposed that the plans be refused. He said: “If AC Lloyd are that confident that they are going to get access via Campion School - go get access, build the infrastructure, then build the houses.

“I am not convinced that the proposals that have been made this evening go far enough in mitigating the loss of amenity to existing residents.”

Click here to read the reaction after the meeting from the MP and a local councillor.