Allesley Green residents have called the consultation a ‘sham’
Residents are furious at developers of the Eastern Green masterplan over what they feel is too short a time for consultation.
Peterborough-based Hallam Land Management revealed the Eastern Green Master Plan last week. After months of speculation it shows that traffic will be directed towards the accident black spot Hockley Lane.
The revelation raised fresh concerns among campaigners who have been calling for road safety measures at the site for years. The development also shows new housing backing onto existing properties sparking concerns that inhabitants will be overlooked.
What did homeowners say?
On Appledore Drive in Allesley Green, where gardens are just eight metres long, local homeowner Jeremy Friend is one of the residents affected. He’s calling on developers to honour their pledge to establish a green buffer zone. He’s also angry and dismayed the community were given just one week to respond during a consultation period.
The controversial proposal to develop Eastern Green was first announced in January 2016 and was opposed by Conservative councillors. The Local Plan approved by Labour councillors also enables development at other local beauty spots – including Keresley and Coundon Wedge.
It was created to support the council’s plan for Coventry to become a “top ten city”. With the Local Plan already agreed by Labour councillors, residents accept some form of development is now inevitable. However councillors representing the area believe developers have a duty to help mitigate the scheme as much as possible.
What have local councillors said?
Commenting on the plans Woodlands ward, cllr Pete Male said: “Right from the start we’ve warned that this plan was a developer’s charter with no benefit to local people.
“We fought hard to protect the greenbelt however we accept that decision has now been made.
“With this in mind we entered into discussions with Hallam in good faith suggesting measures which may mitigate the impact in some way.
“However, the truth is their ‘consultation’ has so far been a sham. They’ve planned for even more houses, created more access points and ignored pleas from residents to maintain a buffer zone.”
Fellow Woodlands ward councillor, and leader of the Conservatives at the Council, cllr Gary Ridley said: “Many people feel betrayed and disappointed by this inadequate consultation which looks a bit like a box ticking exercise.
“The lack of engagement has also prompted rumour and speculation, mostly around the future of the Windmill Hotel golf course which is not included in this master plan.
“People have been incredibly pragmatic in the face of this unprecedented development and a green buffer is not an unreasonable request.
“Hallam must listen to this feedback so that we can work towards the best possible outcome for current, and future, residents in the area.”
Cllr Julia Lepoidevin was also in agreement with residents and said: “Residents were promised a development which was sympathetic to the area with adequate infrastructure and a suitable green buffer – these plans appear to show no such thing.
“I’m also very worried that more houses could mean more traffic and congestion for the area.
“Since we were briefed by Hallam last year an extra access point seems to have been added which will direct traffic towards Hockley Lane.
“I’ve been campaigning to get safety measures there for some time as it’s already a dangerous hotspot. What impact will this volume of additional traffic have?”
How did the developers respond?
A spokesperson for Hallam Land Management said: “We welcomed nearly 400 people along to our consultation event on 19 June, which we publicised with letters through the doors of neighbouring residents’ homes, posters in local community buildings and an advertisement in the local media.
“All of our material explained the deadline for feedback, and we have been delighted with the amount we received, both on the day and throughout the consultation period.
“We have listened to all of the comments, and wherever possible they will be informing our outline planning application.
“There will also be a further opportunity to comment on the proposals once the application has been submitted.
“We would like to thank everyone who took the time to come and talk to us, and share their feedback on our proposals, along with the other residents and stakeholder groups we’ve been working with over the last year while we developed our plans.”
What is the masterplan?
The outline proposals are for approximately 2,625 homes on land north of Eastern Green, Coventry, which would become a new mixed-use community. As well as providing a mix of much-needed new housing, the inclusion of the employment land and a new district centre means the proposed development would also create new jobs.
There would be areas of green open space including a new park as well as play areas, sports facilities, and allotments for new and existing residents to enjoy.
The current draft illustrative masterplan for the site includes proposals for:
- Approximately 2,625 new homes, including up to 25 per cent affordable housing and provision for the elderly
- Publicly accessible green corridors along the Pickford Brook and tributaries along with green open spaces, play areas, allotments and sports facilities
- A new two form entry primary school
- Provision for neighbourhood shopping facilities and a community hall in the local centre on site
- District centre to provide retail and other facilities for the new and wider community
- 10 hectares of employment to the north of the site closest to the A45. There will also be additional employment opportunities in the school, as well as both the local and district centres
- The provision of a grade separated junction on the A45, which has received provisional government funding to assist in the early delivery of this large infrastructure item
- Connecting the site to the existing public transport service and cycle/pedestrian access
- Betterment of local drainage conditions designed to deal with existing overland flows and surface water disposal from the development itself
- Sensitive habitats on the site will be protected and enhanced, including through retention of the majority of existing trees hedgerows, and the creation of new habitats on-site.
The city council’s Local Plan has released the Eastern Green site from the green belt to enable its development. Green belt land can be altered as part of the Local Plan review process, to meet development needs in a sustainable and appropriate way.
This followed a comprehensive review and assessment of the green belt by the city council. The land surrounding the Eastern Green site, will remain protected as part of the green belt.
What is the Local Plan?
The council’s Local Plan sets out how the council plans for the city to expand between now and 2031.
Approximately 10 per cent of the city’s green belt will be lost under plans to build 25,000 new homes for Coventry’s expanding population over the next 14 years. That’s an area roughly the size of Birmingham Airport, three-and-a-half times the size of Coventry city centre and about the same size as two Coombe Abbey Country Parks.
It has now been signed off by central government and has huge implications for almost every area of the city. Of the planned housing, 17,000 homes are allocated to existing brown field sites.
But areas around Keresley and Eastern Green will be hard hit as the council seeks to find a way of accommodating the city’s expanding population – including allowing thousands of new homes on green belt.
What’s your view? What does meaningful engagement look like? What is a satisfactory level of consultation? Share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on 09 July 2018 in Coventry Live. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.