NATIONAL watchdogs have raised fresh concerns over controversial plans to build more than 2,600 homes in Coventry – while the NHS fears more pressure on already stretched services.
As we reported, developer Hallam Land Management Ltd submitted a planning application to build on an area of rural space in Eastern Green.
The large site – around the size of 210 football pitches – was protected green belt land but has now been declassified in Coventry City Council’s Local Plan – outlining a need for 42,400 homes to be built in the city by 2031.
If the city council approves the plans, it would see 2,625 new homes built, together with industrial units and warehousing, and a retail centre the size of Cannon Park.
Plans also include a new primary school, community hall, shops, a new park and sports facilities.
But the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust outlined concerns about the development in a report to the council.
It stated: “The trust is currently operating at full capacity.
“The development directly affects the ability to provide the health service required to those who live in the development and the community at large.
“The population increase associated with this proposed development will significantly impact on the performance of the trust.”
Highways England is also seeking further clarification from the developers about increased traffic concerns.
It says future traffic predictions were based on original plans for 2,250 houses rather than the extra 375 now proposed.
A Highways England report said: “We consider the potential impact of this development has not been adequately assessed.
“Depending on the amount of development traffic using the A45/A46 corridors, additional junction modelling may also be required at key junctions along the A46 corridors, in particular Stoneleigh, Thickthorn and Toll Bar junctions.”
Further concerns have been raised by the Environment Agency (EA) about the risk of flooding.
An EA letter to council officer Mary Ann-Jones states: “In the absence of an acceptable flood risk assessment we object to this application and recommend that planning permission is refused.”
It claimed the flood risk assessment did not adequately assess the potential risks in accordance with national planning laws.
Woodland ward councillor and leader of the council’s Conservative group Gary Ridley said: “The three Woodlands councillors all opposed this greenbelt grab but now it’s happening it must be done sensitively.
“Cramming more and more development into Eastern Green will put an enormous strain on local infrastructure and Highways England are right to oppose it on these grounds.
“The council should push back against builders looking for a quick buck and insist development is no larger than we were originally told it would be.
“There now appears to be concerns that Walsgrave Hospital and other NHS services can’t cope with this expansion.
“Doesn’t this show it’s time for a complete re-think before lives are put at risk?”
A council spokesperson said the authority was working with the developer to deal with concerns raised.
We have contacted Hallam Land Management for comment.