PLANS for a massive regeneration in Lillington could be abandoned.
Proposals were unveiled in 2015 to build some 600 new homes – 40 per cent of which would be affordable housing – and demolish around 320 current properties, including 280 owned by Warwick District Council.
It would have seen Eden Court – the council owned tower block seen for miles on the approach to Leamington – knocked down along with neighbouring blocks Southorn Court and Ashton Court.
But the whole project has been called into question after greenbelt land at neighbouring Red House Farm, which had controversially been earmarked for new homes, was removed from Warwick District’s Local Plan – the document which will set out future development in the district up to 2031.
The government’s Local Plan Inspector Kevin Ward has made modifications which will reduce the overall number of proposed homes built in the district to 17,139 – 740 fewer than originally planned.
As well as Red House Farm, other previously earmarked greenbelt sites removed from the list include land near Milverton, Barford, Cubbington, at Radford Semele and at Hatton Park.
A district council spokesman said: “The Inspector’s modifications to the Local Plan deleted the allocation of land at Red House Farm in Lillington for housing.
“This will impact on the options for regeneration that the council has previously been considering in this area. The council will now be exploring whether and how it takes forward any regeneration proposals.”
Diana Taulbut, campaign leader for Protect Lillington Greenbelt, was understandably delighted at the removal of the Red House Farm site from the proposed Local Plan.
“Lillington’s greenbelt will remain for everyone to enjoy its peacefulness, beauty and wildlife. It has been a long hard fight and I would like to thank everyone who has supported the cause.
“We still await further information about whether the plans for wholesale demolitions in Lillington are now to be scrapped.”
District Labour group leader John Barrott also welcomed the proposed modifications.
He said: “We are very pleased the Inspector has indicated he will not to allow housing developments in several areas of the greenbelt around Leamington.
“We were the only party to oppose the amended Local Plan last year and we were right to do so. We pushed for less urban sprawl and for the remaining Green Belt to be protected.”
Council Conservative leader Andrew Mobbs said the Inspector had indicated if the modifications were made then Local Plan could be adopted.
He added: “It is vital to our district that this happens as soon as possible, as it will allow the council to put a clear policy framework in place to ensure that the much needed housing development in our district is of high quality and we can protect our environment and the green belt.
“The adoption of the Local Plan will also put us in a stronger position to resist future development on unallocated sites. I very much hope that residents will take the opportunity to comment on these modifications.”
A consultation on the revised Local Plan proposals runs until May 5. If the Inspector then concludes the Local Plan is sound – subject to modifications – Warwick District Council can then adopt the Local Plan.
Visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/newlocalplan for details of the proposed main modifications and how to respond to the consultation.