860-home development gets go-ahead from government; Rokeby schools decision delayed - The Rugby Observer

860-home development gets go-ahead from government; Rokeby schools decision delayed

Andy Morris 12th Jul, 2017 Updated: 12th Jul, 2017   0

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build up to 860 houses between Ashlawn Road and the Rokeby estate has been revived after developers won an appeal against Rugby Borough Council’s rejection of the development.

David Wilson Homes’ and Gallagher Estates’ initial application to build 860 homes, a primary school and two new roads from Ashlawn Road was rejected by Rugby Borough Council (RBC) in February 2016 on the grounds it would increase traffic and pollution in the area – particularly at the Dunchurch crossroads – and would not provide the infrastructure to mitigate this.

But two months later the developers launched an appeal against the decision, saying they ‘strongly disputed’ the council’s findings and arguing “residual impacts cannot be described as adverse or severe”.

They revised the plan to include a proposal to convert land in front of Dunchurch’s famous Lord John Scott Statue into an extra traffic lane.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has now upheld that appeal, saying ‘the adverse impacts of the appeal development would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh its benefits’.

Planning inspector Martin Whitehead said: “RBC has accepted that new housing on the Rugby Radio Mast site and Rugby Gateway site would not be sufficient to ensure that it would have a five-year supply of housing land. I therefore agree that the Council cannot demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites.”

He said benefits of the development would include new jobs, affordable housing, a new school, improved recreational and sporting facilities and improvements to public transport and cycle infrastructure.

He added: “There would also be benefits to the environment due to the air quality improvements from the alterations at Dunchurch crossroads and improvements to the drainage of the site.”

Coun Bill Lewis of protest group Stop Ashlawn Road Development (SARD) said the decision was a ‘great disappointment’.

He said: “SARD highlighted a number of what we thought were significant reasons why the development was not sustainable and should be rejected – but they have not been upheld.

“We’ve worked since early 2014 to try to point out the error of their ways – but we certainly won’t be abandoning the campaign.

“We’ll be keeping an eye open to make sure residents are disadvantaged as little as possible by the development and its construction.

“We’ve got to consider whether to appeal this in the High Court – but you need a lot of money to do that so we’ve got to decide how strong a case we have now that arguments have been made against it.”

A DECISION on whether two new schools will be built on Rokeby Fields has been delayed until August.

Last September the Education Funding Agency (EFA) applied to build the permanent home of Rugby Free Secondary School and the new Rugby Free Special School on the fields.

Warwickshire County Council’s regulatory committee was due to decide the application on Tuesday (July 11) – but decided to delay to give objectors enough time to consider late transport information which was only submitted four days previously.

The case is expected to be heard again on August 8.


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