Locals put up huge fight as plans for up to 150 homes in Bedworth thrown out

Locals are celebrating a victory - for now - after plans for up to 150 homes in Bedworth were thrown out. They had concerns that the proposals were initially being recommended for approval.

But, at a planning meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday night (April 16), members agreed unanimously to reject the plans. Several residents made impassioned pleas about why the development should not be given the go-ahead.

Louise Parker, a local resident, spoke about how the Woodlands area was added into the council's old Borough Plan as a way to accept 4,000 'overspill' homes from Coventry. But, under the revised Borough Plan, the area has now been removed as a location for future housing.

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"The required figures for required housing in the area were arrived at during a collaboration between the previous administration and Coventry City Council," she said. "These figures have been proven to be vastly overestimated and, as such, are not needed.

"The developer requires planning permission in the Woodlands, knowing full well it is soon to be removed in the Borough Plan with the revised plan awaiting ratification. The land itself is good quality arable land that has been successfully farmed by a tenant farmer and family for many, many years.

"The land is the last green space in the Bedworth area which is accessible by a footpath. It is the government's policy not to build on green space."

'The end of Bedworth Woodlands'

The Dove Close resident continued: "If this permission is given, it will fly in the face of government and local council policy and will see the end of the Bedworth Woodlands as we know it. The access to this proposed development could not be in a more dangerous and unsuitable place on a bad bend in Woodland Road which is already at full traffic capacity"

She said that flooding engineering experts said that as well as additional flooding of the nearby Nook, the proposed development would also impact on Woodlands Lane. She warned this also floods regularly.

The new homes would see an additional 300 to 450 vehicles on the already struggling road network, she said. "Granting of this permission would spell the beginning of the end of Bedworth woodland," she said.

'Put this application in the bin'

Karl Mayer, a long-standing campaigner to preserve the Woodlands area, added: "This is an opportunity to put this application once and for all in the bin. This application should have never been put in the local plan in the first place.

"It seems it's only been put in by the previous Labour administration's ludicrous decision to accept a 4,000 overspill from Coventry City Council's apparent unmet housing need from their local plan

"This has since been proven, beyond doubt, by the ONS to be flawed thanks to the population figures used by the city council to be 27 per cent over-inflated." He too spoke about the potential impact of flooding.

"Flooding is dangerous on this site and no documents I have seen from the applicant have addressed it in regards to flood risk and safe surface water drainage," he said. "How will it pan out when fields and ditches are replaced by Tarmac and concrete? The proposed balancing lakes will obviously, if full, discharge into the river, turning the children's memorial garden and the nook nature reserve into one huge flood, which is a massive existing problem now."

He said that , as a result of the nearby new Astley fields housing estate, the Nook is often left resembling 'New Orleans' in heavy rainfall.. He concluded: "It is quite obvious this site is unsustainable in many ways and just adds to existing problems in the area regarding flooding and traffic."

Cllr Martin Walsh also spoke in favour of the plan being refused. Following the debate, it was unanimously agreed by the planning committee members to refuse planning permission.

The reasons for are sustainability included so-called TC3 policy, which relates in part to affordable homes, and the local authority currently having a five-year housing supply - as well as biodiversity offsetting. It was also noted that the council's revised Borough Plan is currently being looked at by an independent inspector.

The decision taken by the planning committee could be appealed.

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