THE RSPCA and angry residents have hit out at plans to build nearly 500 houses on an area of ‘rich wildlife’ in Coventry.
Coventry City Council last month approved initial proposals for 475 homes on the council-owned land next to Browns Lane, Allesley.
A petition urging the council to scrap the plans has gained more than 1,500 signatures in less than two weeks.
The 42-acre site has been identified as an area for house building in the adopted Local Plan.
The Local Plan was adopted by the council last December and outlined a need for 42,400 homes to be built in the area by 2031.
The council is set to submit an outline planning application following assessment and try and sell the site on to a developer.
The earmarked land is not on the greenbelt and was allocated for a proposed 40,000 square metre warehouse as part of Jaguar’s expansion, which didn’t materialise.
The site is adjacent to the land of the former Jaguar factory and is nearby the new Amazon warehouse which opened on the land in the summer.
The scale and positioning of the housebuilding on Browns Lane has drawn criticism from animal welfare charity the RSPCA’s Coventry, Nuneaton and District Branch.
It said on Facebook: “As we are sure many of you are aware Coventry council has put forward plans to build 475 houses right up to our centre boundaries.
“Not only will it cause disruption to our animals but also take away the ability to rehabilitate our dogs in a quiet way, away from a busy road.
“On a much wider scale we see the importance of this land and the damage this will cause to local wildlife and the environment.”
The charity has a centre in Coundon Wedge Drive in Allesley, just outside the boundary of the site.
Campaigner Merle Gering from Keresley said: “We all agreed Coundon Wedge was a priority, a great local asset which many depend on.
“The council is driving a coach and horses over all the promises it made.
“It is so important to people who live near it, where they walk their dogs, where they get exercise, where there’s wildlife, where they look at birds, where kids hang out and have some independence. It is an urban treasure.”
Keresley parish councillor Sandra Camwell said: “It is another very nice area which will be ruined by building.
“There won’t be any peace or quiet. It will all be polluted air, noise, things people want to escape from.
“There will be a tremendous loss of the wildlife, which so many people enjoy.”
Residents have outlined other concerns including the strain on services due to an increase in population, a decline in property prices and significant congestion caused by new roads.
Opposition Conservative councillors have condemned the Labour-controlled council for breaking a promise to voters it made after 2010 to protect the Coundon Wedge, as well as all green fields and green belt.
The council has argued the Browns Lane site has not been greenbelt land for over a decade and developing the site will also provide affordable homes and have huge economic benefits, it says.
We have approached the council for comment.