IMPROVEMENTS to St Cross Hospital, three new secondary schools and a spine road to ease traffic in Dunchurch have been proposed as part of Rugby’s blueprint for new housing.
Consultation has begun on the latest draft of Rugby Borough Council’s Local Plan, which sets out how the council intends to meet government targets for new homes.
The plan also outlines the roads, schools, hospital improvements and other infrastructure that Warwickshire County Council, the NHS and other agencies consider necessary to support the developments.
Proposals for St Cross include additional cubicles at the Walk in Centre, a new operating theatre and 55 new parking spaces – while a new MRI scanner, a new endoscopy room and more A&E ambulance bays has been recommended for the wider University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust area.
Also among the requirements are a bypass for Dunchurch, a number of primary schools, and three new secondary schools.
A Borough Councillor says he will lead a campaign against the Local Plan, which he described as “development vandalism”.
Coun Howard Roberts, independent councillor for Dunsmore Ward, said: “The plans omit any feasible plans for providing the infrastructure for the 30,000 extra people who the council say we can house.”
But the council’s growth and investment spokeswoman insisted the plan was the best way to ensure the growing population was supported with sufficient infrastructure.
Coun Heather Timms said: “A Local Plan allows Rugby to ensure developments have the necessary infrastructure in terms of schools, transport and health services – and ensures Rugby retains control of the borough’s development.
“We have seen the benefits of having such a framework in place for the major developments at the Rugby Radio Station site, Cawston and Coton.
“National planning policy demands the council can demonstrate a rolling five-year supply of land to meet development targets. Without a Local Plan in place, the borough becomes susceptible to speculative planning applications without the necessary infrastructure to facilitate sustainable growth.”
Mark Pawsey MP said the current six-week consultation period should be doubled to allow residents to study the plan in detail.
He said: “It is a substantial document which also draws upon other similarly complex documents. As such it is only right that local residents should be given more time to study in detail the intricacies of each piece of work and comment on them.”
Members of the About Turn anti-housing protest group described the consultation as a “fiasco” when some documents were not available at 9am on Monday morning when it was launched – although the documents were released later that day.
Coun Timms responded: “We published the draft of the Local Plan in July – well ahead of the start of the consultation – and both the plan and all supporting documents can be viewed by residents at the Town Hall, Rugby Library and the libraries in Dunchurch and Wolston, or on the council’s website.
“We have consulted at every stage of the development of the Local Plan and have taken into account the responses we have received at each stage of the process.
“We welcome all feedback during the consultation, and we’ll take this feedback into account before amending the draft for consideration by full council.”
The Local Plan accounts for 12,400 new homes to be built by 2031 – more than half of which is already accounted for by current developments such as Houlton at the old radio mast site.
It features an urban extension to south-west Rugby, a new garden village at Lodge Farm opposite Onley prison, additional housing at Coton Park East, and smaller developments in surrounding areas including Brinklow, Long Lawford, Stretton-on-Dunsmore and Wolston.
The consultation opened on Monday (September 26) and will run until Friday November 11, when the plan will be reconsidered by councillors.
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/lpconsultation to take part in the consultation.