PLANS are afoot to lay underground cables across land including Hearsall Common and the War Memorial Park to help power the Jaguar plant at Whitley – causing disruption at the city’s peaceful green spaces.
The extra electricity supply is needed to help the firm expand its research unit and create jobs and investment, but the supply around Whitley is not powerful enough, leading Coventry councillor Jim’Boyle has revealed.
A supply would have to be diverted from the Hearsall Common substation and councillors will hear the most direct route is across some stretches of public land.
An alternative route along city roads would lead to congestion for drivers, as well as extra costs and delays that could damage JLR’s expansion plans, says coun O’Boyle, Labour cabinet member for jobs and regeneration.
Councillors will hear the cables will be buried and the land will be restored to its present state, with all costs being met by Western Power Distribution and JLR.
The cables would be laid along a route of almost 3km, including parts of Hearsall Common, Stivichall Croft, Leaf Lane open space, allotment sites at Beechwood Avenue and Highland Road, and a 343 metre stretch of the War Memorial Park.
The route would also go along Beechwood Avenue, Kenilworth Road, Coat of Arms Bridge Road, Baginton Road, Fenside Avenue and Leaf Lane.
The council acts as Trustee for the War Memorial Park and has to ensure any work is in its best interests, so any charges made for the work over the park, or compensation payments for disruption caused, will be invested back into the park, added Coun O’Boyle.
He said: “Jaguar Land Rover is a major employer that is key to the future success of Coventry workers and we want to do all we can to make sure it has everything it needs to develop and create more jobs and investment in the city.
“The most direct and easiest route for the cables crosses the park and other areas of open land. Any other way would mean severe disruption and increased costs and delays and we are keen to avoid this.
“We would never do anything that would harm the park and this work will also help provide funds that will be invested back into the park.
“It does mean some disruption to one area of the park for a short while, but it is for the good of the city and we hope people will bear with us and we will have things back to normal as soon as possible.”
Councillor Jayne Innes cabinet member for city services said, “Western Power has a legal right to lay the cable, and can do so without our permission but we have worked with them and offered the route through the park to avoid additional disruption on our roads.
“It will also avoid digging up a number of newly resurfaced roads on the route, which is good news. Any work affecting roads would be outside of peak hours as far as possible.”
Kamran Caan cabinet member for public health and sport said, “The work in the park will be taking place between September and January to avoid the Godiva Festival and the busy summer holiday weeks.”
The War Memorial Park is in Earlsdon ward and councillors have been briefed.
Councillors will be asked to approve the work at a meeting on April 11 and the public will be asked for their views before the work is scheduled to start.