Council clears the way for homes to be built on green belt

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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green belt

Postby dutchman » Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:36 pm

MP backs residents hit by Coventry council's new homes plan

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Residents set to be hardest hit by the city council’s ambitious housing plans have won the support of their MP.

Labour’s Coventry North West MP, Geoffrey Robinson, has leapt to the defence of the people living in his constituency who are unhappy at plans to build thousands of homes on green belt land in the area.

Labour-controlled Coventry City Council says it needs to build 36,000 new homes in the city by 2031 as part of its Local Plan – which sets out how the authority expects to grow Coventry physically and economically over the next 20 years.

As part of the plan the council recently released a shortlist of 169 sites where up to 23,000 homes could be built.

The vast majority of green belt sites identified are in the North West of the city – with 29 of the 39 falling in Bablake ward.

Residents have previously stated they feel the planned housing levels in their area are disproportionate and now Mr Robinson has agreed to take their fight to Westminster.

He said: “The most recent version of Coventry City Council’s Local Plan envisages an expansion of residential housing encroaching on the green belt in Keresley.

“There will now be a period of public engagement lasting until October 31 this year, during which residents will have the opportunity to make representations to Coventry Council about their issues with the proposals set out in the Local Plan.

“During this period I shall be listening to and strongly supporting the views of those Keresley residents who are also my constituents in the Coventry North West constituency. I have made my position clear to both the councillors and officers of Coventry City Council.

“It is my understanding that after the close of the consultation period, Coventry council will then enter a further period of discussion both internally and with the Planning Inspectorate who is appointed to consider the plan on behalf of the Secretary of State.

“During this period I can envisage that we shall need also to carry our representations to Whitehall to engage with the coalition government and the Conservative minister with whom the ultimate decision on the Local Plan will lie.

“Throughout this protracted period, the residents can count on my wholehearted support – both in Coventry and Whitehall.”

A protest march against plans to build on green belt is being planned to take place in the city centre on October 11.

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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green be

Postby dutchman » Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:48 pm

Keresley green belt protesters 'will fight on' over 800 homes plan

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Campaigner Sandra Camwell on green belt land at Keresley

Keresley green belt campaigners have vowed to fight on after it emerged Coventry City Council planned to allow 800 new homes to be built on protected land in the area.

The plans, set to be given the nod locally next Thursday, will have to be sent to local government secretary Eric Pickles for final approval because the houses would be on green belt land between Sandpits Lane and Tamworth Road.

But Sandra Camwell, chairman of Keresley Parish Council, has accused the council of ruining the city’s image and residents have already written to Mr Pickles to raise their concerns.

She said: “We will fight on. I fear Eric Pickles is getting fed up of Coventry and its perpetual building, there’s building everywhere, it’s claustrophobic.

“The city should be looked at as a piece of art, the most important thing is perspective, and Coventry is losing perspective.”

Planning guidelines forbid development on green belt land, but the council believe the plans should be approved because of the “very special circumstances” they say have been created by the predicted need for 36,000 additional houses in Coventry by 2031.

But Mrs Camwell disputes those numbers and suggested Lioncourt Homes’ plans for extra housing in Keresley were not needed.

She said: “These homes aren’t for Coventry people, they are for immigrants. It’s only the foreigners keeping the numbers up.

“We don’t have to have this housing. The figures need scrutinising. We have to shut the doors and say ‘we’re full’ – the hospital is overcrowded, the doctors surgeries are absolutely chocker and the roads aren’t up to it.”

Mrs Camwell also hit out at a “lack of support” from local MP Geoffrey Robinson and questioned the legitimacy of section 106 agreements that would see almost £7million paid for local improvements at the council’s request in exchange for the scheme being granted permission.

There are also suggestions the area could lose its green belt status as part of a revised ‘Local Plan’ being drawn up by the city council.

Mrs Camwell said: “They should leave it alone, it’s not there’s to take out. It was originally Meriden's green belt when Keresley was in that area. I wish we’d stayed there!”

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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green be

Postby dutchman » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:48 pm

Green light for 800 homes on Coventry green belt land

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Plans which will “change the face of Coventry” have been approved by Coventry City Council after the authority gave the nod to 800 new homes on green belt land.

Lioncourt Homes was granted outline planning permission which will see three and four-bedroom homes built on the 44-hectare site between Sandpits Lane and Tamworth Road, in Keresley.

It is a landmark decision from the planning committee of a city council which has traditionally operated a policy of opposing residential development on green belt land.

The issue split the committee as eight Labour councillors voted to approve the plans while two Tory councillors opposed.

The proposals will now have to be referred to Westminster where local government secretary Eric Pickles will make a final decision on approval due to the land being protected.

During this afternoon’s meeting, council planning officers and developers argued the plans should be approved because of the “very special circumstances” they say have been created by the predicted need for 23,600 additional houses in Coventry by 2031.

But residents said existing infrastructure and services would not be able to cope with the plans - which would double the size of Keresley.

Speaking after the decision, Sandra Camwell, chairman of Keresley Parish Council, said: “The plans will change the face of Coventry, but it was a foregone conclusion today - it looked like the Muppet Show from where I was standing.

“But I have great faith in Mr Pickles. He’s made it clear he will not allow building on green belt, he’s an astute man.”

Developers will be asked to pay £1.7million to refurbish President Kennedy School’s swimming pool under the plans.

They would also be asked to contribute over £2.6million to education and either build a primary school within five years or contribute an additional £2.6million. There is also a commitment to improve the road network.

Both neighbouring Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council objected to the plans for the new homes - along with Keresley and Corley Parish Councils.

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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green be

Postby rebbonk » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:50 am

Some greenbelts are obviously more equal and important than others! :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:
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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green be

Postby dutchman » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:58 pm

Ruling Labour group on Coventry City Council refuses to debate Keresley homes planning decision

The ruling Labour group on Coventry City Council refused to debate a key election issue just weeks before voters go to the polls.

Tory members wanted to discuss the possibility of referring to the full council a recent decision to allow 800 homes on green belt land in Keresley.

But Labour leader Coun Ann Lucas ordered her councillors not to engage in the debate during Tuesday’s full council meeting.

The recent planning committee decision to allow the homes on green belt in the city - subject to approval from central government and the council’s head of planning - marks a fundamental change in building policy for a council which had long pledged to protect green land.

But Conservative calls for an open discussion on the topic were met with silence from the Labour majority before the request to refer the decision to full council was voted down unanimously by Labour.

Coventry Tory leader, Coun Blundell, had said the decision to allow the housing was “fundamentally flawed” in the wake of Local Government secretary Eric Pickles’ recent decision to block the Coventry Gateway project on green belt land around Coventry Airport.

He said: “This is a blatant attempt by Labour to steamroller a proposal for a massive housing development through the planning committee, despite it being contrary to policy, and riding roughshod over neighbouring councils and the residents of Bablake ward.

“This matter, which will destroy large swathes of green belt in our city, is too important to be delegated to an officer.”

Council monitoring officer Christine Forde clarified the decision could “technically and legally” be referred to full council.

But it is understood the Labour leadership was nervous about setting a precedent which could see any future planning committee decision referred to full council.

Coun Blundell added: “I’m flabbergasted that not one single member of the ruling Labour group has commented.”

The meeting also saw plans for 23,600 new homes in Coventry by 2031 given the nod.

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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green be

Postby rebbonk » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:26 pm

:thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:

Come the elections, I hope that those affected by this decision do the right thing and engage with their councillors with a big fat "V" sign.
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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green be

Postby dutchman » Wed May 13, 2015 7:03 pm

Coventry council leader Lucas says Greenbelt plan’s "all about money"

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COVENTRY council leader Ann Lucas claimed today that a controversial plan to build on Greenbelt “all comes back to money” – in remarks criticised by campaigners.

Having narrowly avoided attempts to oust her as leader on Friday by her own Labour colleagues, she was tackled on issues which saw Labour lose two councillors to the Conservatives in Thursday’s elections.

Of those losses which still leave Labour with a massive 41 to 13 seat majority over the Tories, she said: “If you have one group in charge that doesn’t actually feel democratic”.

Asked about the controlling Labour group’s plans to build on up to 10 per cent of the city’s Greenbelt, ripping up previous election pledges to voters to protect all green fields, she told BBC Coventry and Warwickshire: “Again it all comes back to money.”

She spoke of disproportionate funding cuts to councils by government under the Tories, and said the Greenbelt housing plan would enable the council to raise more income through Council Tax from larger homes, in higher rate Council Tax bands.

Explaining why the Greenbelt issue “all comes back to money”, she said: “One of the ways we get money is Council Tax.. it’s about 15 per cent of our total income – the rest comes from government.

“In Coventry, most of our houses are Band A and Band B (paying the lowest rate Council Tax) – and that’s about 70 per cent of our housing.

“Averagely across the country in cities it is about 44 per cent. We’ve got a real imbalance of housing.”

Other leading Labour councillors have explained their Greenbelt u-turn in similar terms as a revenue raiser to supplement dwindling council income to support services – but only alongside a need to meet local and national housing demand, and their ambitions for growth to become a “top ten city”.

Greenbelt campaigners argue there is no evidence such ambitious plans to increase the city’s population with 23,600 new homes by 2031 will be “jobs led”.

Coun Lucas additionally supported her emphasis that it “all comes back to money” by saying Greenbelt was needed to provide Coventry homes for people working in businesses attracted to the city.

She mentioned the success of Jaguar Land Rover and LTC black taxi company expanding in the city.

Coun Lucas said limited amounts of brownfield land needed to be “saved for businesses”, adding: “I’ve got to look at building band E and band F (houses) so that people whose ambition in this city is to be well enough off to move out of the city – I want them to stay.”

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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green be

Postby rebbonk » Wed May 13, 2015 7:29 pm

“I’ve got to look at building band E and band F (houses)


Oh yes, JLR and LTI are really going to create lots of demand for that type of property!
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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green be

Postby dutchman » Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:30 am

Decision on building 800 homes in Keresley green belt delayed a second time

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A decision on whether 800 homes can be built on green belt land in Keresley has been delayed for a second time.

Coventry City Council has already granted Lioncourt Homes outline planning permission which would see three and four-bedroom homes built on the 44-hectare site between Sandpits Lane and Tamworth Road, in Keresley.

But the decision has to be referred to the secretary of state for final approval due to the site sitting on green belt land.

That was originally due to happen by August 26, but was later pushed back to yesterday to allow time for extra ecological surveys to be carried out.

However, the Telegraph has learned the application has still not been sent and is now due to be sent in February - a full year after the application was granted permission by the council.

That means the referral will take place after the council has published its draft local plan, which will set out how the city plans to grow between now and 2031.

The plan is due to be published on Monday and will identify areas for an estimated 24,600 new homes the council says it must build within the city boundary to accommodate population growth forecast by the Office of National Statistics.

Labour Coun Kevin Maton, the council’s cabinet member for business, has been responsible for developing the city’s local plan and has made no secret of the fact that Keresley was a likely site for major housing development in the future.

In November 2013, he told the Telegraph land in Keresley could lose green belt status to make way for new homes.

That has raised suspicion that the land affected by the Lioncourt Homes application, and even surrounding areas, could be set to be taken out of the green belt in the draft local plan.

If that is the case, it would add weight to Lioncourt Homes’ planning application when it is referred to local government minister Greg Clark.

Those plans would see the developers pay £1.7million to refurbish President Kennedy School’s swimming pool, contribute over £2.6m to education and either build a primary school within five years or contribute an additional £2.6m. There is also a commitment to improve the road network.

More than 1,600 people signed a petition against the plans and both neighbouring Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council objected, along with Keresley and Corley Parish Councils.

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Re: Council clears the way for homes to be built on green be

Postby rebbonk » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:45 am

That's a lot of objections, but my guess is that they'll be ridden roughshod over. The UK economy is based on the foolish premise of house building and ever increasing values.
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