CONCERNS about a controversial plan for 550 homes near ‘ancient woodland’ in Keresley have been raised by the NHS and key government bodies – and could affect populations of an endangered species of newt.
Keresley is earmarked for several housing developments outlined in Coventry City Council’s Local Plan, amounting to more than 3,000 new homes.
Bellway Homes Limited has submitted a planning application for the demolition of buildings and construction of up to 550 homes on Tamworth Road and Fivefield Road.
The site – about the size of 27 football pitches – was protected greenbelt land but has now been declassified in the local plan, outlining a need for 42,400 homes to be built in and around the city by 2031.
On top of 400 residents signing a petition against the development, the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust has demanded £280,000 from the developer to compensate for added strain on already stretched services.
In a consultation report, it states: “The population increase associated with this proposed development will significantly impact on the service delivery and the performance of the trust.
“As a consequence of the development and its associated demand for emergency healthcare there will be an adverse effect on the trust’s ability to provide on-time care delivery without delay.
“The development directly affects the ability to provide the health service required to those who live in the development and those in the community at large.
“Without contributions to maintain the delivery of healthcare services, the proposed development will put too much strain on the said services, putting people at significant risk.”
The trust says the development will mean an additional 2,400 acute interventions and it will be forced to hire additional agency staff.
It will also mean an extra 191 emergency admissions according to trust estimates.
Highways England is also recommending changes be made to the application in order to mitigate traffic concerns.
It recommends the construction of a link road through the wider housing developments around Keresley, which would provide a new corridor for traffic to the west of the city.
It says the plans should also consider wider housebuilding in Eastern Green – where 2,625 homes are planned – and projects emerging in the Nuneaton and Bedworth Local Plan which will increase use of the M6 Junction 3 and A444.
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust also outlined its objections earlier this month in a consultation report.
It said: “WWT objects to this planning application due to insufficient mitigation proposed for the ancient woodland which will lead to the deterioration of this irreplaceable habitat.”
The trust added it had concerns about the loss of biodiversity and endangered great crested newt populations.
The Woodland Trust also objects to the development because of the ‘deterioration and disturbance’ of woodlands and wildlife.
It recommends the developer create an appropriate buffer between ancient woodlands and the development.
A spokesperson for the developer said: “Bellway Homes are aware of the comments to our planning application, and will be continuing to work with all statutory consultees and the City Council to ensure that our high quality proposals on this site allocated for housing development are acceptable.”
The Observer has contacted Coventry City Council for comment.