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Old Hospital Buildings Set For Redevelopment

The rural base of Massey Ferguson on an old wartime hospital in Warwickshire is set to be demolished and redeveloped, even though it stands in historic parkland and in the Green Belt.

After unsuccessful attempts to change the use of the site, the applicants are set to get approval next week for a facelift. 

Warwick District Council planning officers back the plans to knock down the ageing structures and put up new buildings for business use.

But villagers in nearby Stoneleigh say it is not good enough just to knock old buildings only to put up new ones on such a sensitive site at the southern end of the Stoneleigh Deer Park site, close to Stoneleigh Golf Club.

Most of the buildings were used for an American forces hospital in the Second World War.

Massey Ferguson was given special permission to use the buildings from 1956 in connection with developing and showing agricultural machinery, and until recently it was the only company allowed to use the site.

In recent years, the company tried to loosen the restrictions to allow other firms to move in as the tractor-making company (now part of Agco) used the building less.

Some other firms are allowed to use the building for light industrial purpose until 2002 on a temporary permission.

An attempt to loosen these restrictions was refused and an appeal against this decision was withdrawn after the council drew up its own guidelines to control planning at the site. Warwick District Council has now come up with a design brief to given future use of the site.

The policies are to restore the historic parkland next to the business park, redevelop all the buildings to a design standard making the new build less intrusive and more sensitive to the character of the park and to meet Green Belt policy.

The new plans have met opposition from Stoneleigh Parish Council. It said the new buildings will cover the same land as what is there now, but the new buildings will be taller and so "clearly more obtrusive". A representative of the parish council said:

“If we are serious about our desire to restore this historic parkland we should allow no development.

“If this is not possible then the new development should be restricted to the area north of Cloud Lane and the river.

“In this way, the development would be out of sight from the surrounding roads and with, suitable planting, screened from the view on the golf course.

“The proposal as presented is simply the replacement of old buildings with new larger buildings and should be rejected.”

Warwickshire County Council both supports and objects to the scheme.

The strategic planning team said the plan would help restore the historic parkland and raises no objection if the district council and an independent financial assessment back the scheme.

But highways officers say the development is ‘not sustainable’. They add that should it be approved, they have come up with suggested conditions to control the traffic at the isolated site.

Officers say traffic issues have been addressed, a full historical survey of the site and its landscape have been carried out, and that trees are to be retained or replanted.

District councillors meet on Tuesday evening to discuss the outline planning application submitted by Holaw 362 and Buildmajor Limited.

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Brooklands Grange

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CWN / Politics / Warwick District Council / 21 Sep 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM