Huge changes coming to Rugby after controversial 12,400-home Local Plan is approved

Rugby Town Hall, where the decision was made.
Rugby Town Hall, where the decision was made.

A controversial plan that will see the building of 12,400 homes in Rugby borough was given the green light at a Rugby council meeting last night, June 4.

The Local Plan will see the building of 12,400 homes and the allocation of 208 hectares of employment land from now until 2031.

The plan was subject to 183 modifications, including the dropping of the Lodge Farm proposal, but campaigners said these modifications did not go far enough, adding that the plan would leave Rugby with more traffic and pollution issues, inadequate school places, and too few green spaces.

And at a meeting last night, 22 councillors voted to approve it, 13 against and six were not present for the vote.

During the meeting, council leader Seb Lowe told chamber that approving the plan is the only way to protect the borough from speculative housing developments - which would be built piecemeal and would mean that developers would not have to pay for infrastructure.

He added: “Secondly, I would like to speak about infrastructure. It is a common complaint of those opposed to the local plan that we do not have the infrastructure in place to support a growing population.

"Well. I agree. However I am afraid that people making this argument against the Local Plan have rather missed the point. The primary purpose of the local plan is to enable growth in our housing stock to be matched by an accompanying growth in infrastructure.

"By putting in place this local plan, we can not only plan and shape that infrastructure. We can also make the developers pay for it.

"I fear that many members who are opposed to this plan on these grounds have based their opposition on their experience of some speculative developments which we have been forced to allow in the past.

"Frankly, this is an entirely misplaced objection, since the primary purpose of this plan is to explicitly legislate against the very lack of infrastructure they have been complaining about.

"Whether we adopt this plan or not tonight - our housing targets will remain the same - there is literally nothing on earth we can do about them whether we want to or not.”

"Do we wish to see this volume of housing built in a sustainable and controlled way, on our terms, with the appropriate infrastructure at the developers cost - or whether, in name of false promises and political posturing we are irresponsible enough to reject this measure which would - and this is incontrovertible fact - lead to the same level of development taking place with no control, no infrastructure, on a piecemeal basis.”

Rugby Liberal Democrat leader Jerry Roodhouse this morning told the Advertiser that both and the Lib Dem group is disappointed with the result, describing the plan as a 'dog's breakfast'.

He said he agreed that the borough needs a plan, but the plan which has been approved does not properly address issues around pollution, traffic and the protection of green spaces.

Cllr Roodhouse also questioned Cllr Lowe's argument that the plan would bring more affordable housing to Rugby.

"The big four or five house builders will now be lining up to get their planning applications read.

"They need to build executive homes to make money - if you think this plan will bring affordable homes, go to Cawston and look at the houses - that's the future."

Campaigner Richard Allanach said: "On Tuesday councillors voted for a plan they all agreed was imperfect. In the main this was to avoid having the government force them to accept bad developments.

"We now have twice as many sites allocated as are needed to meet our own population growth. For groups like About Turn the adoption of a Local Plan means that for the next few years we should focus on making sure developers meet the quality standards which are in the plan and the county and district councils provide the infrastructure they have promised.”