Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:58 pm
Petition to protect Coventry’s Greenbelt launched
A PETITION has been launched against Coventry City Council’s plans to build homes on the Green Belt.
The online petition, which has garnered more than 430 signatures, rejects proposals to build 25,000 homes in Eastern Green and Keresley, including on Green Belt land.
The plans are part of Coventry City Council’s long-awaited draft Local Plan document, which lays out proposed areas for development across city until 2031.
In a full Council meeting last month, Councillor Kevin Maton said the plans were in line with forecasts for Coventry’s rapid population growth and fit with the Council’s ambitions to become a ‘top ten city’.
But campaigners argue this does not justify plans to develop 10 per cent of the city’s existing Green Belt.
One of the petition organisers, Walter Milner, said the petition was just one of many set up by groups which oppose the local plan.
He added: “Not only are we unhappy with plans to build on the Greenbelt, but the key issue is the sheer number of houses.
“With 18,000 more homes planned for areas on the otherside of the Coventry border, we’re concerned that the city will continue to sprawl outwards.
“The Green Belt was set up to prevent urban sprawl, maintain the individual identities of different towns and cities, and to preserve the countryside.
“Our precious Meriden Gap is being squeezed and we’re looking at a future where it may not exist anymore.”
Mr Milner said the city needed affordable housing, but argued the developments in Eastern Green and Keresley were likely to be large three or four bedroom houses that many would be unable to afford.
He said Coventry’s numerous Brownfield sites should be considered before Green Belt land.
Mr Milner added: “We need to be progressive and see the Green Belt returned to its original use – as agricultural land.
“At the moment we have a crazy situation where we’re importing milk from Poland, when if we used the Green Belt productively it wouldn’t be able to be eyed up by developers.
“The local plan is still out for consultation until the end of the month, so we hope our petition goes some way to making the Council see that the plans need to be altered.”
The petition can be found online at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/ ... n-coventry
Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:32 pm
Suspend all Green Belt plans for new Brownfield survey, say council Tories
Coventry council plans to build homes on 10 per cent of Green Belt should be suspended to allow a comprehensive review of brownfield alternatives, Tories say.
The Conservative opposition at Coventry City Council has today said it wants a fundamental independent review of brownfield sites, and that all Green Belt sites should remain protected in the meantime.
Tory group leader John Blundell has questioned whether the council’s figures for the availability of brownfield sites is accurate – and says more might be done to build more homes in already built-up areas.
The Labour-controlled council should not sign-off any housing development on any Green Belt land it owns in Coventry or across the borders into Warwickshire until the review is concluded, added Coun Blundell.
The council has consulted on its draft Local Plan which proposes 25,000 new homes for Coventry by 3031 including around 17,000 on browfield, and around 18,000 overspill on sites across the border.
Leading Labour councillor Kevin Maton has said the plan is in line with national forecasts for Coventry’s rapid population growth, and the council’s ambitions to grow to become a “top ten city”.
Growth at that rate would give Coventry a population of more than 420,000.
The draft Local Plan figures have been drawn up in conjunction with neighbouring authorities after a government planning inspector ruled Coventry’s earlier plans for around 12,000 homes was too low, and would have a disproportionate knock-on effect for other West Midlands council areas.
Several indendent consultations have also assessed the city and region’s housing needs.
The plan is for 6,600 new homes on ten per cent of Green Belt land, in Keresley and Eastern Green, prompting huge protests in recent years.
Coun Blundell last month criticised the proposed consultation period, which gave the public just six weeks to state their views rather than three months.
Today he said: “There needs to be a comprehensive independent re-evaluation of how many homes we can geniunely build of brownfield sites. All proposals for Green Belt should be suspended until then.
“It should be an independent review with a more focused remit, to allow us to properly understand what the possibilities are for Brownfield sites.”
He claimed the data behind the draft Local Plan was also flawed because it failed to incude a rigorous assessment of homes being bought to let to students and others, rather than for traditional family use – creating real problems with Houses in Multiple Occupation (HiMOs).
Coun Blundell added: “There is an urgent need to bring in a planning policy to control the amount of small HiMOs (3 to 6 tenants) that are springing up everywhere in Coventry particularly around the two universities.”
The Tories say the draft Local Plan also lacked detail on how roads, schools, hospitals and other services could be provided to serve new homes and estates.
Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:19 am
Coventry Council’s ‘bizzare, undemocratic’ rules see Green Belt petition blocked
A GREEN Belt petition has been blocked after falling foul of Coventry council’s ‘undemocratic’ rules.
Labour Council leaders rejected a petition calling for a longer public consultation period than just six weeks on Local Plan housing proposals.
Opponents have branded the Council rule ‘bizzare’ and ‘undemocratic’ as it prevents the public from petitioning on important issues – if it has already been ‘considered’ by full council within six months.
Conservative campaigner Gary Ridley had tried to set up a petition on the Council website when he was told the Council “will not accept petitions dealing with any matter which has been considered by the Council within the previous six months.”
Mr Ridley said: “This dismissive policy smacks of arrogance and contempt for the people who actually elect councillors.
“If they won’t accept a petition on the Green Belt what’s the point of responding to their sham consultation anyway?
“What a kick in the teeth for the hard-working taxpayers of Coventry.”
The petition, now set up on independent website http://www.change.org, calls for the public consultation to be extended beyond the six-week legal minimum to three months.
Outraged campaigners argue the ‘disgraceful’ six weeks’ timescale is not long enough for people to have their say on the controversial proposals to build more than 6,000 homes on Green Belt in Keresley and Eastern Green.
Tory group leader and ward councillor for Wainbody, Coun John Bundell, said the Council’s decision is simply a way of preventing any ‘meaningful discussion’ on the issue with a petition.
He added: “They don’t want the embarrassment of having the issues aired in public.
“It’s totally undemocratic – they are using a technical issue to block something people care passionately about and are concerned about.
“At the end of the day, all we can do as the opposition is highlight the way Labour councillors are behaving.”
The Council’s ability to exclude petitions in this way was introduced in July 2012 after councillors claimed they had been inundated with petitions.
Full council voted through the changes, which also stated the Leader of the Council would have final say on the rejection of any ‘vexatious’ petitions.
Accusing the Council of following an agenda of ‘shutting down debate’, Mr Ridley added: “Just like the Combined Authority, like the closure of the 50 metre swimming pool, the opinions of residents are being ignored.
“This ‘consultation’ is lip service – it is not long enough, it is not thorough enough, and it is frankly not good enough.”
Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:30 am
Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:35 am
Sun May 01, 2016 4:44 pm
Close battles are again expected in wards including Woodlands, Westwood, Cheylesmore and Bablake, where the green belt is featuring again as a priority on doorsteps.
The Labour council wants to build on up to 10 per cent of green belt to enable the city’s population to rise by over a quarter to above 400,000 – supposedly to make Coventry a ‘top ten city’.
Homes on the Greenbelt proposed in Coventry’s Local Plan for development are also featuring in campaign exchanges in Sherbourne, where some party members are furious that former councillor Lynnette Kelly was parachuted in by regional officials to represent them above their heads.
There are claims that Mrs Kelly’s election campaign leaflet is misleading in inaccurately claiming that the Labour council is ‘Protecting Coundon Wedge’ – much treasured green space.
Concerned residents say the ‘Coundon Wedge’ has always included parcels of land now earmarked by the council for housing development. They include the ‘northern end of Browns Lane, a short section of Hawkes Mill Lane and Wall Hill Road, Coundon Wedge Drive as far as the island at the entrance to Lyons Park and the north eastern boundary of Lyons Park.’
Standing in Bablake for Labour is solicitor and Coventry university lecturer Alan East, against Conservative Glenn Williams and Dan Crowter of TUSC. Longstanding Greenbelt campaigner, resident Tony Middleton, is standing for the first time, for UKIP, while fellow high-profile campaigner Walter Milner stands for the Greens.
Labour councillors point to Tory council plans before 2010 to build on Greenbelt. But Tories argue the previous Labour government was responsible for that, and that the council’s Labour leaders have u-turned from previous ‘cast-iron pledges’ to Coventry voters that all green belt and all green fields would be protected from development.
Coventry Green Party claims the Labour council’s plans for green belt housing development are about attracting wealthy families. They say the Local Plan consultation showed 86 per cent of people opposed it, while there was enough brownfield for 18,000 homes and 1,3000 empty properties – which should be used to meet the housing needs of the increasing elderly population and people living alone.
UKIP candidates argue pressures on Coventry’s Greenbelt and services from increased population and immigration can be tackled by voting ‘Leave” in the EU referendum in June.
Sun May 01, 2016 5:13 pm
Sun May 01, 2016 5:49 pm
Sun May 01, 2016 9:58 pm
Sun May 01, 2016 11:28 pm