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Over 600 controversial homes are set to be built in coventry

A new development has been given the greenlight following a high court battle about building on a former gas works site. 

In 2022 plans for new housing blocks on the old Transco gas works at Abbotts Lane in Coundon were rejected by Coventry’s Planning Committee. The scheme resulted in 97% of residents signing a petition to have the development stopped.

people working on building during daytime

Some of the problems that were found with the development included its appearance, effect on parking and traffic and the types of homes provided.

However, at a ruling which took place last week, Complex Development Projects have finally been given the greenlight to proceed with plans. Following an inquiry and site visits over the summer, a government inspector has allowed the plans but as added in some conditions.

212 of the homes can be constructed as normal, but 478 have only received ‘outline’ permission, meaning more details need to be approved before work can commence.

The project, known as Abbotts Park, will be comprised of seven blocks between four and 21 storeys high, and include commercial space.

The inspector has said the scheme if of ‘a very high standard of design,’ it’s blocks aren’t too high and will enhance nearby heritage sites. Whilst the development also comes with car parking plans, the inspector added it could be a ‘car free’ project which would improve road safety.

One of the other concerns that was brought up by the council and residents was who the homes may attract. However, the inspector said ‘people of all ages including families often go for 1–2-bedroom homes so it won’t just be graduates and other young people’ who occupy the homes.

In addition, the development does not comply with the city’s affordable housing targets as it sits at a mere 20%. Although the inspector pointed out that ‘expecting a developer for this kind of site to accept less of a normal return would be unrealistic.

Commenting on the final outcome, a spokesperson from Complex Development Projects said: ‘We have been informed of the inspectors decision following the appeal and are clearly relieved by the result.

‘We have been working in close partnership with planning officers over the past five years to produce an exemplary scheme that was fully in accordance with planning policy. It was a shock to us when all committee members turned it down against the advice of their own officers.’

However, labour Cllr Gavin Lloyd, ward councillor for the area, said: ‘It is disappointing that the decision made by Coventry Planning Committee has been overturned by the inspectorate.

‘Local residents rightly raised their concerns and planning committee heard them and agreed. I’ll continue to assist the local community if and when needed and hope that the development now goes fourth with minimal disturbance to those same local residents who fought against it.’

Image: Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa

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