LONG-rumbling plans to build homes on land at Warwickshire Police HQ in Leek Wootton have again been thrown out by councillors.
The plans submitted by Cala Homes for 83 homes – including 40 per cent affordable housing – went before members of Warwick District Council’s planning committee on Tuesday (September 12).
The application, which has proved hugely unpopular with neighbouring residents, is currently subject to an appeal due to WDC failing to make a decision in the statutory time frame. It means the latest decision made by WDC will only advise the planning inspectorate.
The planning committee refused to give the application the go-ahead in June due to concerns over highways, ecology and drainage.
Members refused to approve the application this time around on heritage grounds, as they believed it failed to preserve the setting of Woodcote House – a listed building – and the park and garden.
The 3.8 hectare site is in two parts – the main area of land known as The Paddock, together with a smaller parcel of land known as The Old Tennis Court.
The Paddock is open grassland that previously formed part of the Warwickshire Police headquarters. The police HQ, Woodcote House, lies in this plot of land, along with private homes Broome House and East Lodge.
The Old Tennis Court had been used as an overflow parking area and dog training area by the police.
In 2019 it was announced the merger of Warwickshire Police with West Mercia was not going ahead and as a result Warwickshire Police decided to continue to use Woodcote House as its headquarters.
Woodcote House was to have been converted for residential use as part of the original plans.
There have been staunch objections to the proposals across the village.
Leek Wootton and Guys Cliffe Parish Council objected to the plans on a number of grounds including over-development due to the number of houses proposed, the removal of trees and hedgerows, few services within the village that residents could walk to leaving them reliant on the car, as well as highway safety concerns over visibility at Anchor junction between Woodcote Lane and Warwick Road.
CPRE Warwickshire objected due to high density housing being proposed at the expense of biodiversity.
And there were over 200 letters of objection from the public.
Concerns questioned the need for more housing, the lack infrastructure, loss of privacy to Broome House and East Lodge and increased noise and air pollution. Some residents felt as the police were not leaving Woodcote House, there was no need for the development, and it should revert to Green Belt.