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[07 JUL 99] COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL PRESS RELEASE
Jaguar Whitley Decision Delayed

Coventry City Council officers today recommended that the Council support Jaguar's proposal to develop a Business Park at Whitley. The Planning Policy Team today considered the recommendation and decided to defer a decision until their next meeting on 15 July to give them more time to consider the officers' report which had been delayed by computer problems.

The report makes it clear that the City Council is committed to the protection of the Green Belt and every effort is made to limit its development by the use of brown-field sites. The City Council also has an obligation to ensure that job opportunities in the city and inward investment are not restricted by the amount of suitable land available for development. While future demand will depend on both local and national economies, additional land needs to be identified to supplement the high quality, well accessed sites such as Westwood Business Park, Warwick Science Park and Coventry Business Park now approaching completion or substantially committed.

The report indicates that the site will be particularly attractive to research and development operations and aims to complement Jaguar's present research and development activities. Having suppliers as close as possible who are able to provide simultaneous engineering services is vital for the speedy development of new products. It is anticipated that the Business Park will create around 2,500 jobs.

The application site does have some recognised nature conservation value. English Nature has very recently designated the whole of the site as being a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). This is a non-statutory designation. In considering their Coventry Development Plan, the Policy Team has taken environmental concerns into account and has balanced the economic and job creation needs of the city with those of nature conservation. The published Plan proposes the employment land allocation but also proposes that there is statutory protection to the river corridors by designating them as a Coventry Nature Conservation Site (CNCS) as well as maintaining their Green Belt status.

The application is only an outline application and any subsequent applications will have to reflect these principles. In addition, the proposal provides the opportunity to enhance the nature conservation value of nearby Leaf Lane and to open up public access to the area. The completion of legal agreements including mitigation measures will be required.

The report indicates the objections English Nature has to the proposal and includes pages of the comments and concerns of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The report concludes that the economic needs outweigh environmental concerns.

If the Policy Team accept the officers' recommendation, the application will be referred to the Secretary of State so that he can consider highway issues alongside the environmental matters and the economic case to decide whether or not he wishes to intervene and 'call in' the application.

NOTE:
Coventry City Council owns approximately 20% of the land and are joint applicants with Jaguar Cars Ltd.

MORE INFORMATION:
Cllr Robert Waugh  024 76 471074
Lesley Wroe, Coventry City Council  024 76 831225
David Lathbury, Coventry City Council  024 76 831295

     

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 7 Jul 99

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