PLANS to build 388 homes on former green belt land at Bennetts Road have been greenlit by city council chiefs to address a ‘desperate housing need’ despite concerns the development would help to ‘devastate’ the local environment.
The development will see the building of homes, of which 97 will be affordable, as well as open space, landscaping, drainage areas, access from Bennetts Road and Penny Park Lane and other access roads.
Land is also safeguarded for a new Keresley Link Road.
This site is within the Keresley Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE), which has an allocation of at least 3,100 homes, and the land was removed from the green belt as part of the 2017 Coventry Local Plan.
Coun Tarlochan Singh Jandu, speaking as a member of the public, said the plans would bulldoze green belt land in Keresley Parish, having a devastating impact on the environment and contributing to climate change.
He added: “Tragically, the 2014 population projections which were used as a basis for the 2017 Coventry Local Plan were inaccurate.
“If the Coventry Local plan does not change its direction it will wreak irreversible damage to the city’s green spaces.”
Coun Kevin Maton said: “Whether the statistics were wrong or right doesn’t matter, it was a long time ago and we’re now looking at what the demand for housing is.
“There is a housing crisis in this country, we do not have enough, so we need this site allocation.
“If we’re not able to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing, developers will just build what they want, where they want.”
Other concerns included an increase in road traffic and the ‘damaging’ environmental impact of added pollution.
However, a council officer said the transport impacts of the new development had been robustly looked at and the plans had been modelled based on that ‘extensive work.’
Public speakers also expressed displeasure that countryside trees, hedgerows and potential habitats for nesting birds would be destroyed.
An agent for the developers, David Wilson Homes and Barratt Developments said: “We accept there will be a minor tree and hedge removal, which are only proposed to facilitate access roads, footways and cycleways within the site.
“Biodiversity enhancements include new hedgerows, tree planting, and hedgehog highways.”