Councillors look set to approve a blueprint for Coventry’s future growth and expansion over the next 20 years as part of the city’s bid to become a top 10 city again.
Members of the Council’s Cabinet and full Council will be asked to approve the draft local plan for the final stage of consultation - before going to an independent inspector - when they meet on 12 January.
The plan identifies where up to 42,400 new homes could be built in and around the city over the next two decades on brownfield sites, the least sensitive greenbelt sites in the city and other sites over the city’s boundaries in Warwickshire.
It also highlights areas for new employment sites, services and infrastructure that will need to be developed and the kind of places and environments that will be created.
Following a detailed process of drafting and consulting over the last 10 years the Council’s final draft Local Plan recommends specific sites for new housing, employment, retail and infrastructure.
The main areas are in Eastern Green, Keresley, Longford, Walsgrave Hill Farm, Whitley, Cromwell Lane and Browns Lane which could take up to 7,000 new homes and 50ha of employment land. This growth will involve the development of 10% of the city’s existing green belt.
The plan also identifies parts of the city that should be reclassified as local green space. This classification will ensure they remain protected and reflects their importance to the city’s natural environment and to local communities. These areas include the War Memorial Park, Sowe Valley and woodland areas in Tile Hill.
Around 17,000 new homes will be built on brownfield sites or areas already earmarked for housing.
Cllr Kevin Maton, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Employment said: “I think everyone in Coventry would agree with our aspiration to be a top 10 city again.
“But if we’re serious about making this city great again and providing opportunities for young people then we need more homes across the city, particularly bigger family homes.
“We have really tight boundaries and the only way we can grow the city is to use some of our existing under developed land.
“We are talking about a really small proportion – around 10%. I think this is better than the alternative which would be to build skyscraper tower blocks across the city or to cram too many houses on small sites in already built up areas.
“Of course this doesn't mean we don't value green spaces. We know how important they are for recreation and for wildlife. That's why we are also taking steps to further protect some of our most valuable green areas by redesignating them as local green space. And of course we have all the benefits of being a city that is surrounded by Warwickshire countryside that for most people is no more than about 15 minutes away.
“While we’re very clear that the option we are proposing is the best one for the whole city we are very interested in hearing people's views on the Local Plan and its impact on the future of Coventry.
“We’ll be making it as easy as possible for people to do this face to face, in writing and through digital and social media. We know that the greenbelt will be the hot issue so we will be sending information out about public meetings and drop-in sessions in the heart of each area where greenbelt is identified for development. We will also be holding drop-in sessions in the city centre."
The consultation starts on 18 January and will finish on 29 February. Comments and feedback will then be considered by the Council before final submission of the plan to government inspectors at the end of March.
The plan will then be subject to a full public inquiry which is likely to be held in the summer. If adopted the plan will come into force from late 2016
Sessions will include:
St. Andrew’s Church, Church Road, off Hockley Road
Public meeting – Tuesday 19 January 7pm-9pm
Drop-in session – Monday 15 February 3pm–7pm
Whitley Academy, Abbey Road
Public meeting - Tuesday 26 January 7pm-9pm
Drop-in session – Tuesday 16 February 3pm-7pm
Lentons Lane Baptist Church
Public meeting – Monday 8 February 7pm-9pm
Drop-in – Tuesday 23 February 3pm-7pm
Xcel Leisure Centre, Mitchell Avenue
Public meeting (at ward forum) – Tuesday 16 February 7pm-9pm (please note, this was originally scheduled for 9 February)
Drop-in - Wednesday 17 February 3pm-7pm
Grangehurst Primary School, Anderton Road
Public meeting – Wednesday 10 February 7pm-9pm
Drop-in – Wednesday 24 February 3pm-7pm
30 Market Way
Drop-ins – Thursday 4 February 11am-3pm
Friday 5 February 11am-3pm
Saturday 6 February 10am-3pm
Read more at http://www.coventry.gov.uk/localplan.