PLANS for a new eco park near Kenilworth have been submitted by Warwick University.
The university is proposing a near 50 hectare public park – roughly the size of 125 football pitches – on the south side of its campus bordering the route of the HS2 rail line currently under construction.
The proposals aim to provide a recreational space for students, staff and the public, with pedestrian and cycle paths, including the Sustrans route, which will connect the main campus to the Greenway and Kenilworth Road, together with a sculpture trail and picnic areas.
It will also include nature reserves and space for renewable energy generation to serve the campus and potentially the wider community.
The new proposed stadium for Coventry City Football Club on the campus’ south-west border – announced last year – would be located alongside and in addition to the park, in a bid to make it among the UK’s greenest and most sustainable football stadiums.
University vice-chancellor Stuart Croft said: “This is the biggest single development announcement the University of Warwick has made in decades. I am sure it will surprise many that it is for a huge 48 plus hectare public eco park rather than a set of buildings.
“The last 15 months of lockdowns and isolation have brought home to us all the value of getting outside to walk, exercise, or just simply relax, somewhere green, free and accessible. Coventry and Warwickshire has several great such spaces but this last year has certainly increased almost everyone’s desire for even more.
“If this finds favour in the new Local Plan for South Warwickshire it will be so much more than just a great green public space for students, university staff, and all our surrounding communities. It will be a 48+ hectare sized green conscience, that for decades will help shape all our decisions on the travel links we create to it, and any structures we build near it to be green, sustainable, transport links and buildings.”
If given the green light, the proposals would form part of a new South Warwickshire Local Plan, devised by Warwick and Stratford district councils as the respective local authorities work to merge their services.
The plan is expected to replace the strategic policies of the existing Stratford Core Strategy and Warwick Local Plan, which both run until 2031.