Preferred Options

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Executive Summary

This paper has been prepared by Warwick District Council in order for you to be able to comment on the Council's preferred approach for how it proposes to manage the future growth and development of the District for the period up to 2026. This consultation is referred to as the 'Preferred Options' and forms part of the process the Council is currently working through in preparing its first ever Core Strategy.

The 'Preferred Options' has been informed by the key social, economic and environmental characteristics of the District and these are described in Section 2 of this Paper. These characteristics have also helped to inform a long term vision and growth strategy for how we want Warwick District's towns, villages and countryside to develop and change over the period to 2026 (see Section 3). The Council's preferred option for managing growth is set out as follows:

1. Direct the majority of new development to within and adjoining the urban areas of Warwick, Leamington and Whitnash, provided it maintains the current balance between jobs and workers, can improve infrastructure, and includes focusing major retail, commercial and cultural developments within and adjoining Leamington town centre. Within this area, development will be generally directed towards the south of the urban area in order to minimise journeys through the historic town centres to the main employment areas and transport connections in the south, and to avoid incursion into the West Midlands Green Belt to the north, east and west of the urban area in order to maintain separation between towns and villages;

2. Direct more limited new development to within and adjoining the urban area of Kenilworth provided it can demonstrate that it will help to improve the current imbalance between the number of workers and jobs in the town and improve strategic public transport connections. Within this area, development will be generally directed towards the south and east in order to minimise any harm to the historic setting of Kenilworth Castle to the west, and to protect the most important areas of Green Belt that separates the town from the urban area of Coventry to the north;

3. Enable limited development to come forward within and adjoining the villages and hamlets where it can meet local business and community needs and maintain the vitality of those communities in locations that protect and enhance the character of the villages;

4. Strictly control development within the open countryside; and,

5. Allow for new development within the urban fringe adjacent to the built-up area of Coventry, where it is demonstrated as necessary to meet the city's aspirations for growth and regeneration, and to counter the unsustainable outward movement of people and jobs to the surrounding Districts.

The vision will also be delivered through the achievement of a number of strategic objectives which are considered in Sections 4 to 21. Each section explains why the objective is an important issue for the District with reference to the available evidence, and, having regard to the evidence and relevant national and regional planning policy, each section the options available to the Council in seeking to achieve the objectives, followed by the Council's preferred option. These are summarised as follows:

The Council's Preferred Options

1. To maintain a strong and growing economy through ensuring a range of suitable sites for employment uses are available and able to be developed to meet the future demand for jobs

Our preferred option is to:

  • protect existing employment areas;
  • re-distribute existing available employment land from factories and warehousing to offices/hi-technology uses in order to better target the available land supply;
  • to prioritise and support recycling of available previously developed sites for employment uses;
  • to take account of the expansion plans of the University of Warwick; and,
  • identify a flexible range of sites to meet future requirements and support expansion of new and existing sectors at the following locations:
    • Land west of Europa Way, Warwick;
    • Land at Lower Heathcote Farm, south of Harbury Lane, Warwick;
    • Land at Thickthorn, between Kenilworth and the A46; and,
    • If required to meet Coventry's employment land requirements, land south of Green Lane, Kings Hill, Finham.

2. To support the local economy through supporting the development of suitable land and buildings for retail, leisure and offices uses within or adjoining the town centres to meet future needs and ensure their continued vibrancy and viability

Our preferred option is to:

  • direct retail, leisure and office growth to town centres;
  • support more efficient use of land and buildings;
  • focus major retail, leisure and office developments within Leamington town centre;
  • support development at a level that best meet local needs within Warwick and Kenilworth town centres;
  • support development to meet day-to-day needs in local centres;
  • include within the Core Strategy a Spatial Vision and Strategy for each of the town centres of Leamington Spa, Warwick and Kenilworth having regard to their individual characteristics and opportunities; and,
  • use these Strategies to guide more detailed area action plans for each town centre.

3. To strengthen the local tourism economy through supporting the development of suitable tourism and cultural facilities, and visitor accommodation

Our preferred option is to:

  • direct new arts, culture and tourism development, including hotels, to town centre locations;
  • support the further development and success of key regional assets, such as Warwick Castle and other significant historic sites, buildings and gardens;
  • support the improvement of existing tourism and cultural facilities, as well as the creation of new facilities, subject to the capacity of the infrastructure and the environment; and,
  • protect existing visitor accommodation within or adjoining the District's three town centres unless it can be demonstrated that the use is no longer viable or suitable.

4. To help disadvantaged and deprived areas through supporting regeneration

Our preferred option is to:

  • promote urban and rural regeneration to improve the well being of communities, improve facilities, promote high quality and safe development and create new opportunities for the people living in those communities;
  • locate growth where it can serve the needs of local regeneration areas;
  • incorporate a strategic policy which sets a framework for subsequent detailed area action plans to be undertaken by the Council, its partners, and the local community within deprived areas.

5. To enable rural communities to becoming stronger and more sustainable through supporting new development of an appropriate scale that makes them become more vibrant and viable

Our preferred option is to:

  • allow limited development in or next to villages in order to meet local business and community needs and to maintain the vitality of these communities;
  • support a range of economic activity, particularly farm diversification and the needs of existing businesses;
  • facilitate and plan for new services and protect existing shops and services;
  • support housing, including both market and affordable housing, in all villages where a local need is identified and where it can strengthen the viability of village services;
  • support traditional land-based activities (including agriculture);
  • support new tourism, leisure and recreational opportunities that require a countryside location.

6. To help meet current and future housing needs through ensuring sufficient suitable land for housing is available and able to be developed to meet future requirements, and that new housing development is of the right type, size and tenure.

Our preferred option is to:

  • make effective use of existing housing stock, e.g. vacant properties;
  • make effective and efficient use of land by adopting a policy supporting a range of densities;
  • re-use brownfield land before greenfield land;
  • demonstrate delivery of a flexible supply of land for housing for at least a 15 year period, including at the following locations:
    • Land at Former Fords Foundry and Station Approach, Leamington;
    • Land south of Sydenham, Whitnash;
    • Land at Woodside Farm, north of Harbury Lane, Whitnash;
    • Land at Lower Heathcote Farm, south of Harbury Lane, Warwick;
    • Land west of Europa Way, Warwick;
    • Land at Thickthorn, between Kenilworth and the A46;
    • Land at Warwickshire College, Warwick New Road; and if required,

7. To build stronger communities by protecting and improving social, economic, green and physical infrastructure through supporting its development and enhancement, and through securing contributions from new development

Our preferred option is to:

  • deliver sustainable communities through securing contributions towards improving or providing infrastructure, including community and social infrastructure such as schools and health facilities, public transport and road infrastructure, green space and recreation areas, etc.;
  • outline the approach towards developer contributions within a strategic policy which relates to an Infrastructure Delivery Plan which will be prepared alongside the draft Core Strategy.

8. To support healthy lifestyles through ensuring sufficient land is made available to all for play, sport and recreation.

Our preferred option is to:

  • protect and improve the quality of existing open spaces and sports facilities; and,
  • secure new or improved open space and sports facilities from new developments and improve linkages between new and existing areas and the wider countryside.

9. To improve community safety and reduce the potential for crime and disorder through new development

Our preferred option is to:

  • secure safe and accessible places and promote community safety through good design; and,
  • include a strategic policy setting a framework for more detailed policy guidance on designing out crime and addressing particular problem areas, such as town centres.

10. To improve access for all groups in society to the built and natural environment through the location and design of new development;

Our preferred option is to:

  • promote and deliver inclusive communities through controlling the location and design of development;
  • incorporate a strategic policy which sets a framework for subsequent more detailed design guidance to ensure physical access for all groups to the built and natural environment; and,
  • incorporate a strategic policy to direct new shops and community facilities to accessible locations, and to protect existing key services and facilities within local centres and other accessible locations from changes of use to other uses.

11. To help meet the needs of Gypsies and Travellers through supporting the development of suitable land for accommodation;

Our preferred option is to include a strategic policy for selecting the location of gypsy and travellers sites to include the following criteria:

  • Convenient access to a GP surgery, school, and public transport;
  • Avoiding areas with a high risk of flooding;
  • Safe access to the road network and provision for parking, turning and servicing on site;
  • Avoiding areas where there is the potential for noise and other disturbance;<.li>
  • Provision of utilities (running water, toilet facilities, waste disposal, etc);
  • Avoiding areas where there could be adverse impact on important features of the natural and historic environment; and,
  • Sites which can be integrated into the landscape without harming the character of the area

12. To protect and enhance the historic environment through controlling the location of development and ensuring high quality design

Our preferred option is to:

  • protect and enhance the historic environment through adopting a strategy which seeks to work with property owners to encourage them to enhance the historic environment, as well as including a suite of strategic policies to guide its decision making on proposals affecting the historic environment.

13. To protect, enhance and link the natural environment through controlling the location and design of new development

Our preferred option is to:

  • protect and enhance the natural environment by including strategic policies that will protect, enhance and link the natural environment in accordance with national and regional planning policy; and,
  • to continue the Council's designation of 'areas of restraint' within and adjoining the towns but to amend the designations to reflect the strategic allocations to the south of Warwick/Leamington/Whitnash and the inclusion of an additional area to prevent Bishops Tachbrook from merging with the urban area.

14. To protect and enhance the built environment through ensuring new developments are of high quality design

Our preferred option is to:

  • promote and deliver high quality design through including policies to protect and enhance the built environment.

15. To address the causes and predicted impacts of climate change through ensuring new development is designed to minimise carbon emissions, use resources efficiently, and be resilient to its effects

Our preferred option is to:

  • include policies to reduce energy use and other resource use, reduce emissions, design for adaptability, and promote the development of renewable energy resources;
  • adopt a target for the reduction of carbon emissions through renewable or low carbon energy sources that is higher than 10% and with a lower threshold than emerging regional policy, subject to the findings of the sub-regional renewables study and based upon the assessment of viability; and,
  • require new residential development to meet the national targets for the Code for Sustainable Homes up to 2016 and for non residential developments to be rated against BREEAM standards. However, water conservation targets will be informed through the findings of a Water Cycle Study.

16. To adapt for the effects of climate change through controlling new development within areas of flood risk and designing new development to reduce flood risk elsewhere

Our preferred option is to:

  • control development which avoids flood risk to people and property where possible and manage it elsewhere; and,
  • include a strategic policy to set a framework for more site-specific flood risk assessments, controlling development within flood risk areas, considering opportunities to facilitate the relocation of development, and for the incorporation of measures to address flood risk from all new developments such as sustainable urban drainage systems.

17. To ensure new development minimises waste and supports recycling

Our preferred option is to:

  • encourage sustainable waste management and include a strategic policy which can help facilitate the delivery of targets for recycling and waste reduction by ensuring that the design of new development takes into account measures to aid sustainable waste management such as bin/compost storage, access to recycling, and access to allow kerbside collection.

The Council is seeking the public's views on these preferred options and they are explained in more detail in Chapters 4 to 21 of this Paper. Use the relevant Feedback boxes (highlighted in pink) placed throughout this online document to make comments. Comments should be made by September 25th 2009.

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