A residents’ group has formed to fight plans for a 1,500-home ‘garden village’ just south of Rugby with the campaigners hoping to raise a £20,000 fund to oppose it.
Stand Against Lodge Farm Village (SALFV) was formed on August 6 when villagers in Woolscott, Grandborough, Onley, Barby, Dunchurch, Willoughby and Broadwell heard about Rugby Borough Council’s revised draft Local Plan.
The plan, which seeks to identify development land up to 2031, includes an option for ‘DS3.15’ at Lodge Farm in Daventry Road near Grandborough, off the A45.
This 260-acre farmland site would be for a ‘garden village’ of up to 1,500 houses.
The Advertiser understands the land is owned by three farmers.
Campaigner John Tautu, of Grandborough, says villagers were broadly aware of the Local Plan but the Lodge Farm proposal and its implications for the wider community has been a shock.
It comes just weeks after residents in Woodlands, Hillside, Rokeby and Dunchurch formed the About Turn campaign group to oppose the council’s revised draft plan.
They protested outside Rugby Town Hall on July 19 to vent their anger over proposed housing settlements between Bilton/Cawston and Dunchurch.
The new SALFV group is holding a public meeting at Grandborough Village Hall on Thursday, September 1, at 7.30pm, to discuss the plan.
It has also set up a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/salfgv and is hoping to raise a £20,000 fighting fund via crowdfunding at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/SALFGV.
The cash would be used for planning experts and legal fees.
Mr Tautu says residents are concerned about increases in traffic that 1,500 extra homes would bring – “up to 4,000 cars” – as well as the lack of infrastructure.
He said people are worried that the very nature of their countryside lifestyle will be under threat, making the area a suburb.
And he said: “Residents are confused why these homes are being forced on our community to satisfy the lack of housing space in Coventry.”
The 93-page Local Plan draft document shown to councillors at its full council meeting last month states “in recognition that Coventry City Council is unable to accommodate its housing needs in full within the city boundary, [Rugby’s] Local Plan seeks to provide for 2,800 dwellings over the plan period towards Coventry’s housing needs”.
A council spokesman explained this is because Rugby is part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Housing Market Area (HMA) and all councils must be part of an HMA.
The councils in the Coventry and Warwickshire HMA have signed a memorandum of understanding to co-operate to meet housing targets.
The document says a garden village would “follow the principles of garden cities” such as Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire. The principal behind these was to combine the benefits of the city and the countryside but avoid the disadvantages of both.
A spokesman for Rugby Borough Council said the Lodge Farm site was promoted during a ‘Call for Sites’ consultation in January and February and added: “A consultation on the draft starts on September 26 and gives residents and other interested parties the opportunity to have a say on the proposals. We shall take the responses we receive during the consultation into account before amending the draft and submitting it to a planning inspector.”-
To find out more about the residents’ meeting on September 1, email firstname.lastname@example.org