Coalville: Plans to build new homes on recreational land in Whitwick set to go ahead – as ‘it was always meant for houses’ | Local News | News | Coalville Nub News

Plans to build 15 council houses on land in Whitwick described as “an important recreational asset to the local residents” are set get the go-ahead.

Next week’s North West Leicestershire District Council Cabinet meeting will consider the scheme at Howe Road.

Councillors will be told the land has been held by the Council since the late 1980s when planning permission was obtained for the development of local authority housing on the land.

That led to Smith’s Court being completed in 1991, and provides 14 bungalow type properties for Council tenants.

But the Council also says that the land now being set aside for housing was not planned as public open space.

However, over the last 30 years – since Smiths Court was completed – it has been used for informal recreation, such as dog walking, with free public access to the land.

Housing Services are currently seeking sites that can be used to build new affordable residential properties – and a council report says the Howe Road site has been identified as one which could accommodate 15 new homes whilst preserving most of the existing tree cover and sense of open space.

Councillors will be recommended to permit the development.

But there have been five objections to the plan from local residents.

Concerns have been raised saying:

  • it is ‘an important recreational asset to the local residents’.
  • ‘vital to the health and well-being of the local community especially those residing in the Howe Court Retirement Homes’.
  • ‘vibrant with wildlife and woodland and I feel that the Council should be looking to protect these areas which help maintain the eco-logical balance of nature’.
  • ‘The space is a designated community asset, which is widely used by the residents for exercise, dog walking and social interaction – it is also the only green space in what is already a heavily developed and densely populated area’.
  • ‘encroachment of development into the rural environment which should be protected for its own sake’.
  • ‘an area which houses wildlife, flora and fauna, is not in in line with promoting sustainability and embracing environmental protection, especially as we live within the National Forest’.
  • ‘I believe that it is detrimental to the two main forgotten age groups in the covid pandemic. This is an extremely popular piece of land with both the youngsters, who independently walk dogs, play football, climb trees, ride bikes and explore. This builds their resilience, teamwork, perseverance and independence for the children of Whitwick. This is extremely important for their life skills. It is also used by the old people who walk their dogs and stop to chat to each other.
  • ‘This area is so popular that it is used from before 7.30 in the morning until after it is dark. I think that the decision has obviously been made without a lot of knowledge about the area and their needs!’

The Council will counter these arguments by saying the nearest designated open space available is at Whitwick Park (0.46 km) or Hermitage recreation ground (1.5km).

There is also a small play park located on Robinson Road (0.18km) and a number of public footpaths in the area which would not be compromised by the proposal.

In conclusion, the report says that: “The strength of these objections must be weighed against the need for new council houses and the land upon which to build them.

“It may also be appropriate to give due consideration to the availability of alternative open space in the surrounding area.”


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