Meeting: Parish Council Planning Committee / Warwick District Council Planning Officers – UPDATE

Members of the Parish Council’s Planning Committee [PC] have, on two occasions, met with the WDC’s Planning Officers [WDC] dealing with the two CALA Homes [CALA] applications for land on the Woodcote Estate.

The meetings were useful and informative, and the key information obtained from the planning officers are set out below:

  • WDC is anticipating negotiating with CALA for an agreed extension of time to the outline application W/22/1877. If CALA refuses to agree to an extension, the application is likely to be refused, as it will be considered incomplete. It is currently felt that neither application will be put before the Planning Committee before April, and perhaps May.
  • WDC is anticipating receiving a revised detailed application for W/22/0465 from CALA, which provides answers to the Officer’s several questions and concerns raised to the original application.
  • WDC was not aware that CALA does not have control over the woodland adjacent to Waller Close, as understood by the PC from correspondence from the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire, and would see this a key error in the Outline application (W/22/1877) as the land is shown on the application in blue, which indicates to the Officers it is land under the Applicant’s control.
  • CALA has been in discussion with WDC regarding a contribution proposed under Neighbourhood Plan Policy LW9 and how to connect the Memorial Recreation Ground to the proposed CALA development. CALA’s proposal is to do this via the wood adjacent to Waller Close. WDC will now review these proposals in light of the above issue of lack of control.
  • Those present had no knowledge of any ongoing discussion with the Police regarding Master Planning for the balance of the estate.
  • There had been pre-application discussions with CALA prior to their original submission but those present didn’t know whether this predated the CALA purchase of the land.
  • WDC has advised CALA that it has to comply with DS22, although WDC had, following advice from Legal, some discretion regarding those elements of the policy that implicitly assumed the Police were vacating the whole site.
  • The recent changes involving the Coventry Gateway numbers would not directly influence current applications before WDC, but rather would be reflected in the new Local Plan under development.
  • WDC has yet to receive an update from Warwickshire County Council [WCC] Highways, but understands that WCC is currently in ongoing discussions with CALA on traffic matters.
  • The PC explained its understanding of the legal argument proposed by Leek Wootton Focus Group [LWFG] regarding the view that “as the police were not leaving the site, policy DS22 should be removed and the land returned to pre-local Plan, DS22 and Neighbourhood Plan status”.
  • The PC discussed in detail its concerns regarding both current applications and highlighted the issues of woodland ownership, density of development with resulting environmental damage and habitat loss, traffic including the need for parking for residents on Woodcote Lane.
  • The PC highlighted the apparent conflict between the tree reports by WDC and the various environmental commentators including WCC, and WDC undertook to check back with colleagues in WDC.
  • WDC advised that it has raised concerns with CALA over the proximity between houses as shown on layout plans and emphasised the need to protect trees and roots systems. WDC has raised concerns with CALA over the numbers of trees and hedges under threat.
  • WDC consider “dwellings” relates to habitable units, i.e., a house, each flat in a block.

Further meetings with WDC are scheduled for mid-April.