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Whitley Development Moves To Next Stage

Jaguar Cars could be set to create 2,500 jobs in Coventry after plans for a mixed-use business park as an extension to their Whitley site have progressed a stage further.

The proposal, which is a joint venture between City Council and Jaguar, went before the council’s planning policy team – which referred it to the Secretary of State.

The 80-acre site adjacent to the Whitley plant would include office space, research and development, light industrial and storage and distribution units as well as hotel and leisure facilities.

The main objector to the plans since their initial announcement has been Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, which is worried that the development will drive wildlife out of the area.

Trust conservation manager Andrew Thompson admits that the decision is a blow.

He said:

"We are very disappointed at the outcome as there are a number of issues that we believe need to be addressed before this application is acceptable.

"Simply the loss of an area of this size that is imperative to the wildlife in this area is worrying and there has not been a satisfactory mitigation programme put in place to balance that out.

"The issue will especially effect the skylark because they require open grassland and they have settled and nested in this particular area and are now using it as a breeding ground.

"However we are happy to speak to Jaguar and talk about putting together a satisfactory mitigation plan and if this happens then we would reconsider our position."

And Jaguar Corporate Affairs Manager Colin Cook has stressed that they are doing everything possible to preserve wildlife.

He said:

"All the plans that have been drawn up are extremely sensitive to these issues and we are having continued dialogues with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

"It is a very exciting development, not just from the point of view of giving us the opportunity to be surrounded by some of our key suppliers, but also for creating 2,500 jobs in Coventry.

" We are very pleased it is going to the next stage."

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