The Kenilworth Neighbourhood Plan – update February 2018
Thanks for all your input – this is what you told us and what we have done
We had a tremendous response to our consultations and meetings. Details of the main changes we have made are in an Appendix (which can be downloaded here), and we will present the required detailed Consultation Statement as part of our submission.
The Neighbourhood Plan has been edited and modified not only because of the Policy changes suggested in the consultations but also to reflect that the Warwick District Local Plan has now been adopted and to correct and improve details of the town in the Section on the Neighbourhood Area.
The responses we received varied from straight from the heart opinions to detailed reports supported by relevant evidence. They came from individuals, from organisations, from developers and from statutory consultees. All have been considered.
The Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan
Many of the residents’ responses objected to the need for additional houses, the allocation of land in the Green Belt, the move of the school and similar issues which are strategic matters now approved in the District Local Plan. Unfortunately the Neighbourhood Plan is legally constrained from altering any of these strategic allocations which have been through the necessary consultation and enquiry processes. However the Neighbourhood Plan can attempt to mitigate the effects and so these responses have influenced the policies proposed.
Traffic and Travel
One of the main effects of the new developments of 2,000 houses is the increased traffic and this was the major issue raised. Responses highlighted the current pressures on the road system in Kenilworth and the inability to cope with the extra traffic from the allocated developments. This aspect of the Neighbourhood Plan has been strengthened both in the policies specific to sites and to more general traffic. We have also had a useful meeting with County Highways who, possibly as a result of the Public Meeting, now appreciate better the scale of the problem and the strength of feeling.
An overriding theme that emerged from all the consultation was that development in the Town should be infrastructure-led rather than the infrastructure being apparently justified development by development with the details effectively determined by the relevant developer. In particular, echoing the strong concerns for traffic in the future, there is a wish for a holistic plan for the road structure of the Town to cater for the cumulative effects of all the anticipated development. The District Council are preparing a Development Brief for the allocations off Glasshouse and Birches Lanes. Information from both the developers and the residents’ responses has been fed into that Brief.
Many responses referred to the improvement of alternative transport whether cycling, pushchairs or mobility scooters. In some parts of the Town there is need to reduce conflicts with other traffic and improve safety. On the new developments there is an opportunity to design to avoid such issues.
A quite different but common theme related to green spaces and the related trees and hedgerows which are features of many parts of the Town. There was great concern for the future of the trees and hedgerows in the areas allocated for development. Because they were in the Green Belt most of these areas currently have no specific protection and the Neighbourhood Plan is able to rectify that, and add protection to other areas in the Town.
Other “green” issues raised range from encouraging alternatives to the conventional car and details like electric vehicle charging and cycling routes to air quality and energy conservation. Where possible these have been incorporated in the relevant policies. A new policy about flood prevention has been added at the request of the County Council, who are the Lead Local Flood Authority, and the local Flood Action Group.
Castle Farm and other more local issues
In addition to the issues and concerns which are common across the Town there are a number of more local issues where residents have understandable reasons for concern. Many of those living near to the proposed housing developments naturally are not happy about the effects of the buildings and the extra traffic. The greatest number of objections including a Petition relate to the allocation in the District Local Plan of land at Castle Farm for outdoor sport to enable the Wardens Cricket and Football Club to move there releasing land at Glasshouse Lane for housing. Much of this land is already classed as unrestricted open space for outdoor sport. Concerns include continued public access, increased traffic and access routes affecting local residents and building and lighting in the Green Belt. Many of these issues will only be resolved at the Planning Application stage but the policy has been drastically revised to provide as much protection to the residents as possible.
Less contentious aspects
Some policies, particularly regarding the town centre and related roads and those relating to the historic aspects of the Town attracted less comment than anticipated. Those few comments made have been reflected. Similarly policies relating to tourism and employment received a relatively small number of comments although there were some very pertinent ones.
Not surprisingly the Developers raised a number of objections, possibly indicating that we are correct in the policies attempting to mitigate the effects of their developments. Some of the objections were technical ones relating to the Local Plan and National policies so some changes had to be made including splitting the policy relating to housing and sports facilities off the Warwick Road.