‘AMBITIOUS’ plans to develop St Mary’s Lands have been given the green light, much to the disappointment of a local group.
Friends of St Mary’s Lands have voiced their concerns about Warwick District Council’s decision to give proposed plans the go-ahead.
The masterplan – to be put into action later this year – includes a cycle path from Hampton Road to Saltisford Brook; improvements to footpaths and parking; a new play area next to the Forbes estate; and public toilet facilities at both the golf club and Racing Club Warwick, and improved drainage and flood defences.
Landscaping for the grade-II listed Hill Close Gardens on Bread and Meat Close has also been included in the redevelopment proposals, as has a new entrance to the racecourse.
Councillors also endorsed the inclusion of a hotel as part of the plans following a feasibility study on the economic benefits it could bring to the town.
But the Friends’ say Warwick Town Council has not yet had its say on the plans and that only some 200 people responded to a consultation.
They have voiced their concerns about further development on the land, an online competition for the new site name and additional parking. Members are also against plans for a new hotel to be built on the site, which they say was subject to a petition two years ago and gained 1,200 signatures.
Despite the objections, the council commissioned an ‘economic review’ of the hotel market in Warwick, which supported the need for additional hotel beds in the town.
But Warwick District Council say the group were closely involved in the production of the masterplan and commented on the final document before it went before the council’s executive earlier this year.
They also say the town council were shown the proposals and they were highly supported.
Spokesman coun Noel Butler said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to regenerate the facilities for the local community and develop a unique visitor attraction for locals and tourists to enjoy, which will boost the local economy.
“It has been a fully inclusive consultation process where we have sought out and listened to the views of the local community and their own requirements. Having worked so closely with the Friends of St Mary’s Lands during the development of the masterplan, we will continue to consider reasonable proposals for the improvement of St Mary’s Lands.”