Warwickshire Gardens Trust

Conservation Matters

Bad news for Warwick Castle Park
We have just heard the outcome of the two planning appeals for land adjacent to Castle Park. The largest site, “The Asps” stretching on land east of Banbury Road between the Barford turn and the valley by Turnbull’s gardens, if for 900 houses, school, local centre and park and ride. The inspector recognised the damage that would be done to the setting of the park and the very substantial harm to the adjacent landscape, that car use would be encouraged because too many local facilities would not be available on foot . Her recommendation was that the proposed benefits, in the provision of park and ride and much needed houses did not outweigh the harm, and recommended that it be refused. The Secretary of State for communities and local government agreed with her assessment of the various issues, but then disagreed with her assessment of the balance between harm and benefit and GRANTED the development.

The second application, for land on Gallows Hill, (450 houses) was allowed by the inspector and the Secretary of State of course supported that.

There now only remains the third site, behind the toll house, for which an application has been withdrawn. The owner was represented at both the appeals and this application will doubtless be re-submitted. That wonderful approach to Warwick is therefore soon to be lost.

The full Inspectors reports and decision letters are on the District council’s Planning site. The Asps. Gallows Hill

Wantage. Another application made for this house, this time to divide it into two flats. We have objected because of the uncertain future which it would give the gardens. The application details, including our letter, are here. Permission has now been granted for the house to be divided vertically into two apartments.

The gardens at Wantage were put on the WDC local list in 2013 at the suggestion of WGT, and in October 2016 they were placed on the National Heritge List for England at Grade II, as a result of our suggestion. The description of the house was improved at the same time.  The house (1901) and garden are by Buckland and Farmer. Herbert Buckland was an influential Arts and Crafts architect of the Birmingham School, and here was able to work for a very wealthy American client, who chose the site so that she could look at Kenilworth Castle every day for the rest of her life. The Trust proposed this action in our response to the planning applications made early last year.

Local Plans

Warwick District. consultation on housing allocations closed  2013 July 29. Very damaging implications for Warwick Castle Park and the setting of the town itself. Our response here
A revised development strategy then increased the projected number of new houses needed in the district to 12,900. Many of the people living in the proposed 4,000 new houses south of Warwick would have a daily drive past Castle Park, over Castle Bridge and through Warwick Town Centre. In May 2015 a first phase of scrutiny of just the numbers of houses by a planning inspector was held. Discussion of the locations was to follow. His ruling was not, as we hoped, that thenumbers were more than needed, but that another 7,000 needed to be added.
In the meantime developers were exploiting the National Planning Policy Framework’s presumption in favour of development if there is not enough housing land supply for five years. Without a finalised Local Plan, this is the case in Warwick. All the sites consulted upon (and generally objected to) in the Plan consultation have how had applications submitted. Additionally, developers lined up with applications on three sites which the Council had not included because of their proximity to Warwick Castle Park

Barford House. Latest application. Application W15/1294 for 8 houses on the land south of Barford House, identified by the inspector as the least sensitive part of the former park was granted by the Planning committee on 8 December 2015
What went before:
A proposal (W11/1533) to build 58 houses in the former pocket park of Barford House was refused on appeal in 2013.  A further application (W13/1465) for 50 houses, configured to attempt to meet the Inspector’s objection to the first was made late in the same year. It was also refused on appeal in November 2014.

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