Coleshill and Villages local column

The Daw Mill Appeal by Howarth Estates is of huge concern to a significant number of local residents because of the impact on Coleshill and the surrounding villages. At the time of writing this column we are awaiting the outcome of the independent Inspector.

The important work against this appeal from residents, Parish Councils and the local action group LAWRAG has been testament to a community coming together for something they believe in. They put together a strong campaign.

Due to Parliamentary responsibilities I was unable to attend the appeal hearing in person, however a member of my team attended in my place and read out my statement and evidence to uphold the North Warwickshire Borough Council’s decision of rejecting the Daw Mill proposal.

My evidence at the hearing included the following points: The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) applies to the Daw Mill proposal: ‘As with previous Green Belt policy, inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances.’ – the Appellant even acknowledged this. This is tacit admission that the proposed development is inappropriate and I along with many local residents do not believe that they are able to demonstrate the ‘very special circumstances’ required for this scheme to go ahead. 

I recently questioned the Housing Minister Gavin Barwell on this issue and he stated that, “The National Planning Policy Framework’s protections cover all Green Belt land equally.  Even though most Green Belt was designated to “check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas,” (the first purpose), Green Belt is still valid Green Belt if it is not fulfilling all five purposes.  For instance, only some Green Belt protects the setting of a historic town.”

I am concerned that although the Howarth Estates acknowledges that this scheme does not align with North Warwickshire Borough Council’s Development Plan, rather than comply with the plan, they seek to undermine it.  Our Borough Council rejected the initial application for good reason.

Furthermore residents of Coleshill are particularly worried that the proposed mitigation will in many respects exacerbate the current traffic problems in Coleshill at the Green Man Cross Roads and the immediate vicinity.

Removing the existing ‘no right turn’ sign from Church Hill is not only dangerous but it will negate the intend impact of using Church Hill as a ‘slip road’. Vehicles will be turning back into traffic, causing more of a backlog along both Birmingham and Blythe Roads and would increase traffic from the High Street towards the Green Man Crossing. The ‘no right turn’ traffic road order (TRO) was introduced to address safety issues in 1998. I am very concerned that removing this TRO will pose a risk to residents and motorists at this junction.

In more positive news it was great to see two Coleshill School students performing so well in the Biology Olympiad.

I am told that Jess Moon and Elena Ryan beat 3000 other entrants to take home Bronze. I know what a good place for local young people Coleshill School is having visited on a number of occasions.

Many congratulations to you both, you have proved that dedication and hard work brings success.

Finally, I would like to add huge congratulations to Coleshill Town on reaching the semi-final of the FA vase. As a long suffering Newcastle United fan myself, I was always going to have to look at alternative routes of getting to support a team at Wembley, so I wish them the very best of luck against South Shields!