On 15th March 2023 Rugby Borough Council’s Planning Committee met to consider application R22/0383 Erection of 10 dwellings with access from Heritage Close. The Parish Council and several residents objected to this plan therefore Cllr Bishop attended the meeting on behalf of Cawston Parish Council to speak in opposition to this development. Unfortunately, the planning application was approved by Rugby Borough Council and the development will go ahead. It was said at the hearing that the developer or their agent had given the Parish Council 6 months to come up with a suitable community use for the land however Cawston Parish Council has never had any communication with or offers from the agent or developer.
Cawston Parish Council are still passionate in its desire to see this land used for community use, but it was for Rugby Borough Council to decide. It will continue to work with Rugby Borough Council to see how the developers can contribute to other areas of the community through the Section 106 agreement, where developers fund local community projects.
Please see below for the full statement made by Cllr Bishop on behalf of Cawston Parish Council at the Planning Committee hearing on 15th March 2023.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of Cawston Parish Council, and on behalf of the many residents who have contacted us about this specific application.
As a reminder, Cawston Parish Council objected to this application for the following reasons:
1. Safety – the original layout of houses would have reduced the visibility for motorists on the Gerard Road island crossing, which is used by children.
2. Ecology – This site has been a haven for wildlife and would be a sad loss of green space for Cawston.
3. Density – the frontages of some of the proposed properties were very close to the road and not in keeping with others.
4. Parking – the development of the proposed site will see an increase in traffic and parking, which is particularly likely to cause further issues because of the close proximity to the shops, community centre and school.
I’m pleased to see some of those issues have been resolved, to the letter of the law, however, Cawston Parish Council, and the residents, still have questions over the sale and purchase of the land, and that the optics of this do not look good.
While the sale, purchase and submission of the planning application may have followed due legal process, there are still unanswered questions, and that the community itself desires the land to be used for a more community-based purpose. I would ask the committee to consider the optics of this.
– Does this offer Cawston a positive use for this land?
– With the speed and nature of the sale, and initial application, and with the involvement of sitting Councillors in the development. Does this look like a deal conducted behind closed doors, and waved through?
Until all of the questions from the community can be answered – we would ask the committee to reject this application in its current form and ask the new landowner to engage with the community, to consider answering some of the community’s needs, before they submit a future application.