A DEMONSTRATION against proposals to build homes on ‘up to 10 per cent’ of Coventry’s green belt will be staged outside the Council House tomorrow (Wednesday, October 12) ahead of a crucial hearing about the Local Plan.
Campaigners will gather at 9.15am, supported by Conservative opposition councillors.
They are calling on an independent planning inspector to throw out ruling Labour councillors’ draft Local Plan for development for the next 15 years, which identifies various Greenbelt sites around the city.
Labour councillors say Greenbelt release is needed to support the city’s forecast ongoing population growth – due to migration, people living longer and more people living alone, in line with national trends.
Labour-run Coventry City Council claims the growth will be led by new jobs and economic growth and has aspirations for Coventry to become a ‘top ten city’.
They also point to previous Conservative council proposals for similar increases of over 20,000 homes including in Greenbelt when the Tories were in power before 2010.
But the Tories say brownfield sites should be used first, and the unjustified early release of lucrative Greenbelt land is a ‘developers’ charter.’
The Local Plan proposes 5,000 new houses on the Greenbelt in Keresley, 2,000 on Greenbelt in Eastern Green, and warehousing and a retail centre ‘the size of Cannon Park’ at Eastern Green.
Coun Jaswant Birdi whose Bablake ward includes Keresley said: “These plans have been rushed through and these hearings could be the last chance that residents get to speak out.”
Other affected Green sites would be at Coundon Wedge, Cromwell Lane, and King’s Health near Finham and Broad Lane as housing ‘overspill’ just outside the city border.
Some residents’ groups and Conservative councillors from Woodlands, Westwood and Bablake wards, Peter Male, Gary Ridley and Julia Lepoidevin, will call on the planning inspector to reject the council’s proposals.
Westwood Conservative councillors David Skinner, Marcus Lapsa and Tim Mayer are calling for the Cromwell Lane proposal to be dropped, pointing to their own survey identifying traffic volume and speeding issues in Cromwell Lane and the Tile Hill Village.
Conservative group leader, Coun John Blundell, said: ‘This Local Plan is a developer’s charter – it treats freshly released Greenbelt land and Brownfield sites in the same way.
“It means the first day this plan is implemented we could see bulldozers on the Greenbelt while Brownfield sites are still available.”
Woodlands councillor Julia Lepoidevin said: ‘I’m deeply concerned about the impact this could have on local infrastructure and services.
“We’ve already seen problems with the A45/ Broad Lane roundabout. Imagine it with an extra 2,000 houses nearby.”