‘Missing piece of the jigsaw’ as 1,700 new homes in Nuneaton given green light
A ‘missing piece of the jigsaw’ when it comes to much-needed new roads and facilities in the north of Nuneaton has been approved. By approving the planning application for up to 1,700 new homes and two new schools in Top Farm, Weddington, Town Hall leader councillor Kris Wilson said it will bring the keystone for desperately needed new additions in the area.
But the application was not without objection and the Town Hall leader said he, himself, would vote to recommend it with a ‘heavy heart’ given the amount of development in this part of Nuneaton. However, the plan will bring the homes, as well as mixed-use district centre with a range of retail and community uses.
But it was the lack of cycling facilities within the development and the surrounding areas that drew the most objections from residents. Michele Kondakor said that the current proposal was not sustainable as it was based on plans from 2017, and much has changed in the area since.
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She raised concerns about a proposed new roundabout at Higham Lane and Peake Avenue, and what would be done to prevent it from becoming a rat run. Cllr Keith Kondakor went further and said that either the application should be rejected or deferred so that further consultation could take place.
He raised issues in regards to biodiversity, losing ‘small woods’ to the development planned for the land as well as animals buried in some of the land following foot and mouth disease. Cllr Kondakor said that the applicant, which is Warwickshire County Council, should also provide funds, through what is known as a section 106 agreement, to help pay towards a Weddington entrance to Nuneaton train station.
Another objector raised concerns about the lack of cycling infrastructure from the site to the railway station area. But a spokesman for the county council said that Network Rail did submit a bid for 106 money but it contained no detail nor how much money was needed.
The county council asked for further details and this has yet to be forthcoming. He added that, in regards to the foot and mouth concerns, he said that will be subject to conditions and that the development cannot go ahead without them being satisfied.
There is also ongoing updates taking place in regards to ecology surveys at the site. He pointed to the fact that, as well as the new homes, the development would bring a new district centre with retail and health opportunities and land specifically ring-fenced for education – namely a new academy that would be run by Higham Lane School.
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The development would also finally bring about the Northern link road between Weddington Road and Higham Lane. Also, to help cope with the extra traffic the site will bring, and add to the existing roadworks, there will also be:
It was these factors, said Cllr Wilson, that led him to voting in favour of the application.
“I think I am probably the only member who has voted against every one of the applications for St Nicolas and Weddington, my commitment to try and protect the residents and local area is significant,” Cllr Wilson.
“The problem that we have is the lack of infrastructure, GP, shops, schools, health care provision and open spaces. People are having to go significant distances to get to some of these facilities. This is the missing part of the jigsaw, a very vital part of the jigsaw, unfortunately most of the private sector developers have ignored.
“This rights the wrongs of the past 10/11 years of development in Weddington and St Nicolas Park, we recognise this keystone, for the north of Nuneaton.”
He spoke about the need for the education provision – especially the Higham Lane North Academy plan.
“We know that there are children in this area that are having to go up the A5 to go to Hartshill school,” he said.
“There is significant funding from Department for Education for school provision on this site. This has to be signed off by the end of this month, we will lose significant funding from the DfE if we don’t.
“It would be highly irresponsible if we don’t grasp the opportunity for this significant investment into our educational facilities. If we can do anything to increase the educational attainment of our children, then we should do that.”
He concluded: “This will help damage that has been caused on the north of Nuneaton. It won’t repair the damage but it will mitigate it. It is with a heavy heart that I support it.”
A vote was taken and approval was given to the planning application.