South West Rugby masterplan adopted
“The health of our children, grand children and older people at significant risk should surely count for more than profits generated by concreting and building over our countryside”
Last minute calls to halt and amend plans for South West Rugby development bore no fruit as Rugby Borough Council voted in favour of the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for South West Rugby on Thursday night (17th June 2021).
Save Dunchurch chairman Michael Judge MBE said: “So the SPD for SW Rugby rolls on despite, for instance, the meagre concessions from the inspector [on] height restrictions of the [Tritax Symmetry] warehouses being immediately given up at the first challenge [from] the developers! We are told that the SPD is our protection against indiscriminate developments by the builders. I’m not sure they will feel at all inhibited by the terms of the document...”
Mr Judge was referring to the full planning permission for the Tritax Symmetry warehouses outside Thurlaston, which increased the height of the buildings from 15m to 18m. Dunsmore councillor Peter Eccleson (Conservative) argued against this increase but was outvoted.
Mr Judge continued: “After two years the key decisions about buffer zones between Dunchurch and their neighbours and the precious Cawston Wood in particular have not been settled! Why not? It’s not rocket science trying to prevent coalescence or to provide green corridors for people and wildlife to use.
“Sadly our arguments mounted two years ago that the population projections for Coventry were based on faulty data and therefore the housing projections were similarly overstated now are gaining recognition and lower requirements are now being widely accepted. As time goes by what provisions are there for downward revisions to the plan?
“Our local councillors argued to the last on a variety of issues but, significantly in my view, too many other councillors not from our villages outvoted them.
“We will continue to monitor the application of the local plan and SPD and draw the attention of our fellow citizens and representatives to our concerns, despite the lack of any real encouragement or recognition of the large number of legitimate concerns raised by community groups, including our councillors.”
Mr Judge also raised concerns about the air quality in the village. He said:
“Who will accept responsibility for the lack of significant mitigation of the pollution hot spot at the Dun Cow crossroads in the centre of Dunchurch? The health of our children, grand children and older people at significant risk should surely count for more than profits generated by concreting and building over our countryside.”
Cllr Jill Simpson-Vince (Coton and Boughton, Conservative), Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, said: "The South West Rugby site has a key role to play in driving the borough's growth and economic recovery following the pandemic, and the SPD provides an important framework for the site's development, including the delivery of infrastructure.
"Creating a cohesive and sustainable community in South West Rugby has always underpinned our work on the SPD. It’s now down to all elected councillors to work together to ensure these new communities are well integrated with existing neighbourhoods.”
Dunsmore ward councillors Peter Eccleson, Howard Roberts and Deepah Roberts told SRN in a joint statement last week: “The need for the SPD is self-evident. As ward councillors we will support this SPD document… since without it Rugby Borough Council is open to speculative development and without guarantee of the infrastructure provision and the necessary protection to ecology and the environment that it desires. However, we will continue to hold the council to account to ensure that the guidelines of the SPD are strictly adhered to and that developers are dynamically aligned with these requirements and in the interests of our residents.”
Rugby Liberal Democrats had asked for a last-minute amendment to the SPD to reconsider the environment and green spaces. Specifically they wanted more buffers between developments and woodlands or existing villages; improved parking standards; and a ‘building for life’ standard.
Cllr Jerry Roodhouse (Liberal Democrats, Paddox), said: "If this SPD is adopted, we will see poor development that is not future-proofed with more tarmac and concrete creeping urbanisation.”
But a RBC spokesperson said these amendments could not be supported or justified.
Cllr Simpson Vince said at Thursday’s meeting: “The amendments proposed tonight clearly aim to make the South West Rugby development site more attractive and sustainable, but they do not meet the criteria for a supplementary planning document. We will however look to see if there is more that we can do, on this site and others, to meet these aims.”
You can read the South West Rugby Supplementary Planning Document online at rugby.gov.uk/swrugby