A LEGAL agreement will ensure open spaces within the huge mast site development will benefit residents and wildlife, Rugby Borough Council has said.
It comes in response to concern voiced by Liberal Democrat councillors that the council should own the land to ensure ‘its long term community benefit’.
Councillors Neil Sandison and Jerry Roodhouse have said it was not yet clear whether the council would have control over the new estate’s green spaces, claiming it would only be able to step in if the developer fails to maintain the land to an acceptable standard.
Coun Sandison said: “Rugbeians need assurances that this land of high visual amenity and diverse habitat is available for all to enjoy, for generations to come.
“The land abutting the Oxford Canal Corridor should form part of a wider countryside parkland setting in line with the requirements of the national planning policy framework and be on a landscape scale.
“The council and developers have a responsibility to ensure that there is a sustainable balance in delivering the local plan for housing growth alongside maintaining a quality environment.
“This can only assured by robust agreements on green land space and the council holding this land in trust for future generations.”
Coun Jerry Roodhouse added: “We should seek to ensure Rugby residents benefit by getting green lungs and corridors in this development that are in full public stewardship. The council is in my view best placed to do this.”
The redevelopment of the 1,168 acre BT-owned site between Hillmorton and the A5 will see 6,200 homes built over the next 20 years, as well as three primary schools, one secondary school, a new health centre, a link road and a series of other road improvements in the area.
Initial ecological work is scheduled to start in the autumn, with the first new homes due to go on sale next year.
A spokesman for Rugby Borough Council said: “It is always important to make sure new communities have enough quality open spaces in the right places, and the planning committee considered this when granting outline planning permission.
“The mast site developers have signed a legal agreement that will make sure that open spaces benefit the new residents, existing residents and also existing and proposed wildlife habitats, including next to the canal.
“These have been secured regardless of the management arrangements, which will in any case have to be approved by the council before any new residents move in.
“We are open to new and innovative management arrangements but will make sure that whatever arrangements are decided offer good value for money for Rugby taxpayers.”