Gateway scheme still in the balance

Friday 21 December 2012 Updated: 31/12 08:54

THE future of a multi-million pound project to transform land at Coventry Airport and create up to 10,000 new jobs remains uncertain after Warwick District Council deferred a decision on the scheme.

Hours of debate at Leamington town hall on Wednesday night (December 19) failed to generate a definitive outcome with councillors divided on the merits of the scheme and eventually agreeing to defer a decision until more details were provided in the new year.

Coventry City Council has already given its backing to the plan – which would cut through 700 acres of countryside around the airport to create a new technology park – but nearly 800 letters of objection were submitted by residents living around the area.

Mark Symes, chairman of the Campaign against Coventry Gateway, has expressed hope the government would ‘call in’ the decision if the scheme is eventually given the go ahead.

Communities minister Eric Pickles could ultimately have the deciding vote and has already spoken of the need for protection of green belt land nationally.

But following Warwick District Council's decision to defer, Graham Pardoe of scheme backers Coventry and Warwickshire Development Partnership, insisted: “We believe that Gateway presents a major regional and national economic opportunity which will attract considerable investment and job creation to the area.

“A significant amount of work and investment has gone into working up this application and we will work closely with officers and members to supply any other information they require to help them reach a decision.”

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