Local Plan for a top ten city

Council House Coventry

Councillors at Coventry City Council have approved a blueprint for Coventry’s future growth and expansion over the next 20 years as part of the city’s bid to become a top ten city again.

Members of the Council’s Cabinet and full Council approved the draft local plan for the final stage of consultation - before going to an independent inspector - on 12 January.

The plan identifies where up to 42,400 new homes could be built in and around the city over the next two decades on brownfield sites, the least sensitive green belt sites in the city and other sites over the city’s boundaries in Warwickshire.

It also highlights areas for new employment sites, services and infrastructure that will need to be developed and the kind of places and environments that will be created.

Following a detailed process of drafting and consulting over the last 10 years the Council’s final draft Local Plan recommends specific sites for new housing, employment, retail and infrastructure.

The main areas are in Eastern Green, Keresley, Longford, Walsgrave Hill Farm, Whitley, Cromwell Lane and Browns Lane which could take up to 7,000 new homes and 50ha of employment land. This growth will involve the development of 10% of the city’s existing green belt.

The plan also identifies parts of the city that should be reclassified as local green space. This classification will ensure they remain protected and reflects their importance to the city’s natural environment and to local communities. These areas include the War Memorial Park, Sowe Valley and woodland areas in Tile Hill.

Around 17,000 new homes will be built on brownfield sites or areas already earmarked for housing.

Cllr Kevin Maton, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Employment said:
“I think everyone in Coventry would agree with our aspiration to be a top ten city again.
“But if we’re serious about making this city great again and providing opportunities for young people then we need more homes across the city, particularly bigger family homes.

“We have really tight boundaries and the only way we can grow the city is to use some of our existing under developed land.

“We are talking about a really small proportion – around 10%. I think this is better than the alternative which would be to build skyscraper tower blocks across the city or to cram too many houses on small sites in already built up areas.

“Of course this doesn't mean we don't value green spaces. We know how important they are for recreation and for wildlife. That's why we are also taking steps to further protect some of our most valuable green areas by re designating them as local green space. And of course we have all the benefits of being a city that is surrounded by Warwickshire countryside that for most people is no more than about 15 minutes away.

“While we’re very clear that the option we are proposing is the best one for the whole city we are very interested in hearing peoples’ views on the Local Plan and its impact on the future of Coventry.

“We’ll be making it as easy as possible for people to do this face to face, in writing and through digital and social media. We know that the green belt will be the hot issue so we will be sending information out about public meetings and drop in sessions in the heart of each area where green belt is identified for development. We will also be holding drop in sessions in the city centre."

The consultation began on 18 January and will finish on 29 February. Comments and feedback will then be considered by the Council before final submission of the plan to government inspectors at the end of March.

The plan will then be subject to a full public inquiry which is likely to be held in the summer. If adopted the plan will come into force from late 2016