Local Plan adopted in North Warwickshire – investment and growth unlocked to aid economic recovery
Published on Monday, 4th October 2021
North Warwickshire Borough Council adopted the Local Plan for the Borough last week, one of the most important and wide-reaching documents produced for the area.
The Local Plan sets out what housing is needed, as well as providing sites for jobs and will help to attract improvements to roads, schools, green spaces and health facilities to complement the new development.
For a number of years development in North Warwickshire has not kept pace with what future generations in the area needed which has made it harder for people to own their own homes or stay in the Borough. The investment that comes with this development has also not come to the area putting pressure on infrastructure in the Borough, perhaps most importantly seen in problem roads such as the A5.
A number of years ago therefore North Warwickshire Borough Council set out an ambitious vision to catch up as an area and see renewed investment and vigour brought to the Borough. The Local Plan was one of the most consulted on documents in the history of the Council with a host of events organised to seek views on the vision for the area. Thousands of responses were received which were eventually considered by a Government Inspector through a series of public inquiry sessions. The Inspector has found the plan ‘sound and deliverable’ and the Borough Council has accepted numerous changes are part of this engagement process.
The Plan has already reaped dividends for the area, with £80m being awarded by the Government for initial improvements to the A5. The whole stretch of the A5 from the M42 to the M69 is now being considered by the Government for a comprehensive overhaul, something more likely now due to the £80m awarded for the road around Dordon and Grendon. The award from the Government was one of only three road schemes in the country directly funded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 2020 budget.
Speaking after the Council adopted the Plan, Councillor David Wright, Leader of the Council, said:
“I’m really pleased that the Council has adopted the Local Plan. Its been a huge amount of work and I’d like to thank Councillors, our officers and the public who got involved for contributing to this significant piece of work. We know there is a crisis in our housing market with not enough houses being built for the current and future generation and we’ve had to make some tough choices to try to ensure this problem is eased in the coming years.
Whilst we will need to accommodate more housing than previously, we have tried to protect our valued Green Belt and our longstanding aim to keep a strategic gap between us and the urban area of Tamworth. We have set out an ambitious set of requirements for the infrastructure that is needed to support the investment and I am delighted we are already seeing this being delivered with £80m being secured for improvements to the A5, a very significant investment. The population levels in North Warwickshire have stagnated in the past - this has resulted in very little investment coming into our communities and limited increase in the footfall into our market towns.
We’ve taken a visionary approach with this Plan, particularly with regard our economy. We’ve always had a plentiful number of jobs in North Warwickshire particularly linked to the logistics industry, and whilst we have been grateful for those jobs, we needed to take decisive action to seek to attract the higher skilled jobs for the future economy. Key to this is the proposed extension to the MIRA site which will see exciting investment come to North Warwickshire.
We will now work just as hard with our communities to ensure high quality schemes come forward to bring new life and renewed vigour to our area. This is extremely well timed given the hit our economy has taken due to COVID and the need for us to recovery strongly.”
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