Councillor fears housing plans may swallow up Dunchurch

Housing
Housing

An independent borough councillor has expressed his outrage at the council’s housing plan to potentially make Dunchurch ‘part of a sprawling urban conurbation’.

Howard Roberts, who represents Dunchurch, has started a petition against the borough council’s Local Plan, which sets out how the council plans to accommodate 12,400 houses over the next 15 years.

Extending Rugby to the south-west around Bilton and Cawston, a major development at Coton Park East, a new village on the edge of Coventry and more houses in villages have been identified as potential sites for around 8,500 homes. The Rugby Radio Site and land at Coton has already been earmarked to take the majority of the rest of the houses.

If the ‘preferred options’ are pushed through, Cllr Roberts fears Dunchurch would no longer be a village as extra houses would connect it to Rugby.

Cllr Roberts said: “The preferred option proposed by the ruling Conservative group for Rugby future housing growth is based on an unrealistic assessment of the town’s need for future housing growth.

“The council’s planning consultant has made some wildly optimistic economic growth forecasts for the town, leading to a hugely exaggerated prediction for our future housing needs.

“The result of this is that Dunchurch and Stretton on Dunsmore have been placed under existential threat. Dunchurch has been earmarked for 5,400 new houses, joining it to Rugby. This means it will no longer be a village, just part of a sprawling urban conurbation.

“I have started a petition where the people of Dunchurch and Stretton on Dunsmore can voice their concern.

“This petition will be used when I argue to any local plan inspector that the Conservative group’s plan is not sound and should be thrown out.

“If Dunchurch or Stretton on Dunsmore residents wish to sign the petition they can contact me on howard.roberts@rugby.gov.uk.”

Plans include the allocation of around 100 homes at each of the main rural settlements of Binley Woods, Brinklow, Long Lawford, Ryton on Dunsmore, Stretton on Dunsmore, Wolston, and Wolvey, subject to suitable sites being available.

Graham Francis, a previous Conservative borough councillor for Dunchurch and member of the council’s planning committee, said he was ‘appalled’ at the plans to extend the new housing 
development towards Coventry.

“Although I can be accused of self-interest because I live in the area now identified for Rugby development, I cannot believe that the housing developments confirmed to date will not be sufficient for 15 years,” he said.

“The infrastructural requirements for the Mast Site, two Ashlawn Road sites, Bilton Grange, Daventry Road and the Cawston extension area have not even started.

“Where are the service roads, schools, doctors surgeries, etc? The hospital is moving services to Walsgrave! How many people are we trying to accommodate and how will we cope?”

The Local Plan public consultation runs until February 5. Visit the council website.