‘Lively discussion’ at crunch meeting over St Mary’s Lands

Monday night's meeting to discuss the future of St Mary's Lands in Warwick.

THERE was said to have been ‘lively discussion’ at a public meeting that aimed to defuse tensions over the future of St Mary’s Lands in Warwick.

It took place at Warwick Court House on Monday, with residents, businesses, district and town councillors among the 80 people turning out.

They quizzed Warwick District Council’s chief executive, Chris Elliott, senior councillor Noel Butler and Colin Burden, from landscape architects, Plincke, all of whom have been on the working party that drew up the masterplan for the historic site.

There has been vocal concern in the past month about revived plans for a hotel on the part of the site that is currently occupied by Warwick Racecourse.

And the three men face 25 questions, mainly relating to the hotel, including its financial viability, the impact of smaller hotels and guesthouses, and its economic benefit to the town.

Referring to a suggestion that the necessary land for a hotel is sold by the council to get around a legal loophole that controls development of St Mary’s Lands, they were also accused of ‘selling off the family silver’.

Cllr Butler said afterwards: “I’m very pleased that so many local people took the time to attend this meeting and hope that some of the inaccuracies surrounding this project have been clarified.

“These are exciting times for residents and visitors to Warwick with the opportunity to improve this beautiful open space and make it more accessible for everyone to enjoy not only as a visitor destination for the town, but as a place of value to the local community groups who use it.”

This week sees the start of works around main entrance of the Racecourse and footpath improvements to the side of the stable block along Gog Brook, which will include new signage and the removal of derelict buildings.

For a summary of the questions and answers from Monday’s meeting, click HERE