CPRE Warwickshire – Save Our Green Belt Coventry
41a Smith St
Warwick CV34 4JA
14 Sept 2021
Some Good News! – Eastern Green
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government called in the case, at the end of August and on 7 Sept, a barrister instructed by the Treasury Solicitor has given a legal opinion supporting our barrister’s opinion on issue 1: that the council erred in law by not fixing the housing mix in the grant of planning permission. This may well wound Coventry Council, and improve our chances of success.
Thus far we have raised £26,364! Thank you so much for generously supporting our case against building on green belt at Eastern Green in Coventry. It has been extremely encouraging. So many people have donated. – £16,583 has come online through crowdfunding, and the rest has been cheques in the post. Individuals – that’s you – have made gifts from a fiver, to £2000. The most common amounts were £50 and £100. Parish councils have given £1000, £1500, and £2500
How is the case going?
Lisa Foster, a senior Partner at Richard Buxton Environmental Solicitors, is our lawyer, and Andrew Parkinson at Landmark Chambers is the barrister. Both are very experienced specialists in environmental and planning law.
On June 28, we filed a Pre Action Protocol letter, giving the reasons for our claim, which the Council replied to the next week. Lisa and Andrew thought that their response was mainly bluster. They did not seem to have a substantial reply or piece of killer evidence that could shoot us down, particularly on the traffic point – that the council had not properly assessed the “cumulative” impact on traffic of new development in and around the city.
We took courage, and on July 15, the very last day possible, we lodged our claim against Coventry Council – it needed a heroic effort – but we got there. One of the great things about working with Buxtons, is that they are very committed and will not let a case fail, if any delay crops up.
In August, both the council and the developers (Hallam Land) submitted counterclaims and evidence. Buxton’s asked us to comment on the new statement, from the traffic consultants, Brookbanks, We found massive holes in their traffic modelling for Coventry – the Coventry Area Strategic Model [CASM]
Faulty Traffic Models
We have been able to show, that the model grossly underestimates future traffic in Coventry, because
- the model made no allowance for the new HS2 station near Birmingham Airport – where there will be 7500 car parking spaces, 77500 new jobs, and 4000 new homes. You might expect that it will generate just a bit more traffic.
- it did not include air passenger growth at Birmingham Airport, which is forecast to double by 2030 – and nearly three quarters of travellers come by car.
- It didn’t include the new Amazon Warehouse in Allesley, on the old Jaguar site, where there are 500 HGV movements/day
- it did not add in extra car drivers for thousands of new homes in Nuneaton and Bedworth, Solihull, and Warwick
- the council and the developers manipulated the definitions of “committed” future development (i.e. what should go into the model). The accepted DfT standard is any site which is “more than likely”. The council only included sites deemed to have “a high level of certainty”, a much more restrictive definition, which gives a far smaller number of future homes than what the local plan inspectors thought would and could be realised.
- the model ignored forecasts of overloaded junctions along the A45 at Pickford Way, Broad lane, Kenilworth Rd, and Stivichall island
- no account was made for the “road to nowhere”, the A46 link road, which is highly likely to dump rat running traffic into Westwood Heath, Burton Green, Tile Hill, and Eastern Green.
That’s where we are now. We are waiting to hear from the developers, who wish to submit arguments on the subject of joining our case to a similar one with the same housing mix issue. That should come by 30 Sept. Then, the case papers will go to a planning judge, who will decide whether or not to grant us “leave” (or permission) to go to a full hearing of the case. It is a preliminary stage, about whether or not the case is “arguable”, in the lawyers language – in short, is the legal reasoning and the evidence plausible enough, after cursory examination, to take the matter to full consideration.
We are cautiously optimistic about getting leave – we think a judge is likely to take the intervention of the Secretary of State, as a sign that there is an important legal matter in play, which needs resolution by a court. We may find out in October, about getting leave. If we do get permission to proceed, a full decision would be likely in February next year.
Thank you again for your support. It is immensely appreciated
More Funds needed
While we have done well so far to raise £26,000 pounds, the total cost could reach £50,000 – Against all the possibilities, we do need a substantial war chest. So please share the link to our crowdfunding page with your friends and neighbours. And of course you can give more than once yourself.
If you would like to volunteer, please get in touch – we could really do with people who are good at social media, or press, or communications or traffic modelling or research. And we need people to put leaflets through letter boxes – We distributed 12000 flyers in Coventry and had a great response. It all helps. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once we hear about the decision on leave, – or any other significant news – we will be in touch again
Sir Andrew Watson
Chair CPRE Warwickshire