PLANS for the first phase of a massive and controversial housing scheme in South Warwickshire were given approval last week – and there was an immediate call for the decision to be declared null and void.
Opponents of the project to build a 3,000-home “new town” at Gaydon and Lighthorne Heath (GLH) said that vital information had been withheld from members of Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s east area planning committee before they gave the go-ahead for the first 2,000 homes to be built.
FORSE, the campaign group fighting the GLH proposals, said that councillors were not told that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) – a vital cog in the UK economy – had sought a meeting before a decision was taken by the planning committee because of the company’s concerns about highways issues.
In a letter to Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council – reported exclusively in the Herald – Gerald Eve, consultants for JLR, had requested a meeting between the car giant the two councils and the developers to discuss the firm’s worries in advance of the vital planning committee on Tuesday last week. There is no indication that such a meeting has taken place.
Cllr Laura Steele, chairman of FORSE, said the group would be asking the monitoring officer of Stratford District Council to declare the decision null and void on the grounds that the councillors making the decision had been “misled”.
Cllr Chris Saint (Cons, Shipston North), the leader of the district council, said: “I repeat my earlier assertion that Gerald Eve were responding to a new transport assessment, published on 11th April in a timely manner.
” I have re-read their letter and nowhere is there a request to meet before the planning committee meeting. There was a request for JLR to be kept in the loop. This will happen at a series of future meetings.”
However, the letter from Gerald Eve states: “Jaguar Land Rover again formally requests to be consulted in relation to the revised plans concerning the proposals for the B4100 and the entrances and exits on this road.
“Jaguar Land Rover would also want the opportunity to comment on any draft Section 278 Agreement, associated plans and draft planning conditions in advance of the Council [SDC] formally determining the planning application.”
The letter concludes: “As set out in this letter, Jaguar Land Rover has a range of concerns and therefore we request a meeting with the applicant, Stratford District Council, Warwickshire County Council Highways and Warwick District Council to discuss the above matters.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Warwickshire County Council said: “Warwickshire County Council, Stratford on Avon District Council and Jaguar Land Rover meet on a regular basis and we will continue to work together to achieve the investment and jobs at the Gaydon site.
“The comments about the treatment of the B4100 contained in the letter dated 5th May have been accommodated into the planning conditions to be attached to the residential development.”