We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Kenilworth Lib Dems say Neighbourhood Plan should put community at its heart

August 6, 2017 9:42 PM

1 Summary
This response welcomes the opportunity given to local residents and organisations to
engage with and to respond to the proposals to develop Kenilworth. Such
participation and transparency will help build a better response to the many
challenges and opportunities facing the town in the next 15 years.

At the heart of the Neighbourhood Plan should be a vision for Kenilworth that is a
living and thriving community. The ultimate test for each policy within the framework
for the Plan should first and foremost be the extent to which it enhances community
life. Concerns about infrastructure and environment are important, but should be
secondary to the impact of developments on the town as a community that inspires
its residents and workers and that welcomes its visitors.

The principal suggestions made in this response are:
i. to prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and users of mobility scooters and
pushchairs over users of motor vehicles, especially in the Town Centre and
for movement across the town east-west and vice versa;
ii. to require the operators of the new schools and the new sporting facilities (at
Castle Farm and the rugby club) to produce strategies for developing positive
relationships with local residents;
iii. to consider introduction of a 20mph speed limit within the Town Centre,
initially by schools and on the new developments;
iv. to develop a new community centre on the 'land east of Kenilworth' albeit with
governance responsibility to rest with an existing town organisation, and
v. to ensure that local residents and organisations are involved in decisions
about how best to spend Community Infrastructure Levy funds, as well as
money raised by applications to the HS2 Community and Business Funds.

2 Context
2.1 The policies that form the basis of Kenilworth's NP do not exist in a vacuum. They
are needed not just so that the NP 'can be used to determine planning applications'
to protect Kenilworth's 'special character' i . The building of 2,000+ new houses, which
are an integral part of Warwick District Council's (WDC's) Local Plan, are only part of
the challenges and opportunity facing Kenilworth in the next 13 years.
2.2 The affordability of homes in Kenilworth has been becoming an increasing problems
in the town for many years. For some time it has been difficult for first-time buyers to
afford a home in the town (it is unusual if more than 20% of the properties advertised
for sale each week in the Kenilworth Weekly News are for less than £175,000). Now
it is also increasingly difficult for older people (aged 70+) to downsize into Kenilworth,
possibly to be nearer to children and grandchildren. For example, two recent two-
bedroom bungalows advertised for sale were for £375,000 in Randall Road and
£425,000 in Collett Walk.

2.3 Before 2029 Kenilworth will also see huge change as a result of the construction and
operation of HS2. This will bring disruption to traffic flows, noise and destruction of
the environment. On a positive note HS2 might bring some short-term business
opportunities as a result of the presence of lots of building contractors and maximum
and effective access for community projects to HS2's Community and Business
Environment Funds will also be needed.
2.4 Kenilworth is different to many other towns of its size in that it has a
disproportionately high percentage (30%) of its population aged over 60 and over
compared to the county as a whole ii .
2.5 In December 2017 Kenilworth's new £13 million train station will open. This will make
it easier for residents to get to Coventry and Leamington for work, school, shopping
and train connections. The station will also make it easier for people to get to
Kenilworth for shopping, work and social visits.
2.6 Kenilworth is also particularly exposed to
a) general socio-demographic changes which manifest themselves in the fact
that many residents work away from Kenilworth during the week and only
return at the weekend and also that many residents do not have close family
members living nearby which can, for some age-groups, lead to a sense of
isolation,
b) the impact of Brexit in March 2019, not least because amongst the largest
employers of the town's residents are Coventry and Warwick universities
and Jaguar Land Rover each of which has derived huge benefit from the UK
being in the EU,
c) cuts in local authority budgets such as the possible closure of the Kenilworth
Children's Centre Group in March 2018 iii ,
d) the huge technological changes facing the UK in the next 15-20 years,
especially because the educational attainment of Kenilworth residents and
use of information technology are higher than the national average, and
e) environmental pressures including those of air quality because of the
relatively high level of car ownership in the town iv .
2.7 Kenilworth is special because of its strong sense of community. This is only partly
acknowledged in the NP v , but in our view it needs far greater focus. Few towns of
Kenilworth's size have - amongst other things - seven thriving churches plus five
other worshipping communities, two successful amateur theatres, a plethora of sports
clubs including cricket (two), rugby, football (two), tennis, squash, bowls, croquet, golf
and running, a thriving independent youth and community centre and a much-loved
independent and financially-secure day centre for older people. Kenilworth has very
popular youth uniformed organisations - Scouts & Guides, St John Ambulance and
a CCF. Each of the town's service clubs - Rotary, Round Table, Lions, Tangent, 41
Club, Ladies Circle, and the Soroptomists - are amongst the largest in the Midlands.
2.7 Part of this sense of community cohesion stems from the fact that the majority of the
town's Primary School children go to Kenilworth's only Secondary and Sixth Form,
although it is acknowledged that some students are educated in State and
independent schools in Coventry, Leamington and Warwick.
2.8 Evidence of the strength of Kenilworth's ever-changing community life is also evident
in the long and unique list of successful community events such as the carnival, the
Two Castles 10K Run, the fireworks gala, the Duck Race and Kenilworth Arts
Festival. The plans to improve in 2017 the town's Christmas lights and its hugely
popular switch-on events are a result of the strength of feedback from local residents
in recent years; another sign that community life is highly valued in Kenilworth.

3 Vision
3.1 We believe that the vision for Kenilworth must have community at its heart. The town
is much more than a relatively comfortable environment where people live, work, visit
and do business in some unconnected way.
3.2 We are very concerned that, as each developer submits planning applications for the
different parts of the town, there is no evidence as to how consideration will be given
to the wider impact of each development on a) community life in the town and b) the
environment including air quality, flooding risk and traffic management.
3.3 Our vision for Kenilworth is that it continues to be a living and thriving community. A
community that its residents are proud to be citizens of and that its workers are
pleased to work in. A community that both current and subsequent generations are
proud to call home. A community that welcomes and inspires.

4 Site-Based Policies
The following changes to these policies are suggested:
4.1 KP1 Town Centre
- add reference to improved signage for visitors, especially to Abbey Fields and
Kenilworth castle.
- add reference to responsibility for operation and maintenance of the clock tower
to Kenilworth Town Council (this often requires attention and currently this can be
achieved only by reference to WDC).
- add reference to provision of free parking for users of electric vehicles, more
electric charging points and more cycle parking.
- add reference to the provision of wider routes for use by mobility scooters (by the
town's ageing population) and pushchairs will be developed.
- add reference to the provision of high-level flower displays (ideally in substitution
of the current low level flower tubs which block the pavements for mobility
scooters, pushchairs users and vision-impaired residents).
- add proposals to introduce a 20mph speed limit in the town centre should be
developed to improve visitor experience in the town centre and to improve air
quality.
- add reference to possible creation - using Community Infrastructure Levy funds -
of a contemporary and inspiring focal point at Abbey End for open-air discussion
and meetings reflecting Kenilworth's historical role in the development of English
democracy. Such a facility could also be used for street theatre and open-air
concerts.
- delete reference to a Town Arts Centre and Hall - a world-class Arts Centre
already exists at Warwick University and the new Secondary School facilities
could easily accommodate a hall and state-of-the-art performance theatre for
both school and community use vi .
- delete reference to the need to upgrade and consolidate medical facilities at
Smalley Place - both Abbey and Castle Medical Centres have recently been
extended and, rather than add to motor traffic congestion and poor air quality in
the town centre, outreach medical services should be delivered from community
facilities on 'Land east of Kenilworth'.
- delete proposals for a multi-storey car park - rather than facilitate more motor
traffic in the town centre consideration should be given to developments of
policies that encourage use of public transport and movement by foot and
bicycle.
4.2 KP2 Station Road
We support the proposals for traffic management and land redevelopment in this
area.
- add proposals to restrict parking to residents will be developed.
- add proposals will be developed to introduce a 20mph speed limit to improve
visitor experience and to improve air quality.
4.3 KP3 Warwick Road Special Policy Area
We support the proposal to develop commercial, business and hotel use in this area.
- add proposals will be developed to introduce a 20mph speed limit to improve
visitor experience and to improve air quality.
- add in the event that land should become available (e.g. at town centre sites -
see 4.10 below) proposals will be supported to develop a small retirement village
for older residents similar to that created on a larger scale in Earlsdon by The
ExtraCare Charitable Trust. It would add to the town's sense of community if such
a facility is developed close to the town centre rather than located in a more
remote part of the town as, sadly, happened with the otherwise excellent Castle
Brook dementia home. A new retirement village providing an
outreach/befriending type service to prevent isolation of older people and also
providing community events within its village for older people living at home
would help build intergenerational community cohesion.
- Such as facility could also include Waverley Day Centre whose lease at 65
Waverley Road expires in March 2019. This building was not designed for 21 st
century use for older people and, as the number of potential clients increases as
the town's potential grows, so more suitable facilities must be identified for the
next generation of older people.
4.4 KP4 Land East of Kenilworth
We support the principles set out subject to the following amendments:
- add with the exception of Glasshouse Lane and Birches Lane, where a 30 mph
speed limit may be acceptable so long as there was priority given for pedestrians
and cyclists, a maximum 20mph speed limit should be imposed on the
developments.
- add development of any education sites must allow for safe access for children
and parents (to avoid repeating the problems which exist at the town's existing
education sites).
- add support will be provided to expand St John's primary school on its existing
site especially for children from the new houses on Rouncil Lane and off Warwick
Road South to reduce traffic and pedestrian use of St John's gyratory.
We strongly support proposals to create a new community centre vii in this area. This
will help increase a sense of community and reduce isolation for both young families
and older residents. Such a centre could be used for a range of activities, including
meeting rooms for community groups, outreach medical services, outreach children's
centre services, a community cafe, exercise rooms and a place of worship. We
recommend that consideration be given to management of this facility being sought
from an existing provider of such facilities in Kenilworth, rather than creating a
separate governance structure with additional overheads. The model for this
arrangement exists in Warwick with The Gap on the Spinney Hill estate and
Packmores Community centre on the Woodloes estate.
We support the need for a minimum 40% affordable housing requirement on all
building sites. We believe also that this should be through pepper-potting, rather than
concentrating the affordable housing element in one part of the development.
As a sign of Kenilworth's welcoming character, we support the idea that one property
in the new development be is reserved for Syrian refugees and used for a 'For
refugees' project viii .
We reject the need to extend the spine road currently proposed for the southern land
parcel to all three parcels. Independent access to each of the land parcels will help
integrate each within the wider town community and prevent a single spine road
being used as a 'rat-run' to avoid Birches Lane/Glasshouse Lane.
4.5 KP5 Kenilworth School Sites and KP6 Land East of Warwick Road
We support these proposals subject to
- add a maximum 20mph speed limit should be imposed on the developments.
- add carfree zones in the immediate vicinity of schools similar to Edinburgh's
'Living Streets' initiative.
- add the need for the operators of both the new school and the new sports
facilities to be required in their planning application a) to produce evidence of the
financial sustainability of their proposals to avoid the need for future Town
Council funding and b) to develop an acceptable residents' relationship strategy.
4.6 KP7 Abbey Fields
We support these proposals subject to
- add reference to working with the Friends of Abbey Fields and Save Our Outdoor
Pool community groups in the development of proposals to extend the recreation
use of and biodiversity within Abbey Fields.
4.7 KP8 Castle Farm
It is a source of major regret that the proposals for Castle Farm appear to have been
developed over many years by Warwick District Council, Kenilworth Wardens Cricket
Club and the local land owner without any reference whatsoever to the needs of local
residents or existing users such as Kenilworth Town Football Club. This has resulted
in an otherwise avoidable negative reception being given to the proposal to extend
these sports and leisure facilities. We therefore support the calls made by local
residents and users for much greater transparency in this matter.
Notwithstanding the above, we support the general principle of extending these
facilities, which could help improve the physical health and well-being of residents,
increase a sense of community within the town and attract visitors to Kenilworth,
subject to the constraints proposed and
- the existing facilities (including the existing building and carpark and Field 1)
being made accessible to the general public and all existing users on the same
hours of use as at present ix .
- add the need for the operators of the new facilities to be required in their planning
application a) to produce evidence of the financial sustainability of their proposals
to avoid the need for future Town Council funding and b) to develop an
acceptable residents' relationship strategy.
- add the need for suitable proposals (including a 20mph speed limit) to be
developed to improve road safety in the roads close to Castle Farm (which
include Clinton Primary School) and, in particular, at the Fishponds
Road/Siddeley Avenue junction.
4.8 KP9 Traffic
We support these proposals subject to:
- delete paragraph 2 which we consider undermines the priority stated in
paragraph 1 to be given to pedestrians, cyclists etc.
- add Fishponds Road - Siddeley Avenue and Windy Arbour/Glasshouse Lane to
the list of junctions requiring action.
4.9 KP10 Cycle Routes
We support these proposals, including the high priority need to find an urgent
solution for the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists to link the K2L route to the
Greenway, and to create a shared pedestrian/cycling route through the Abbey Fields,
subject to :
- add reference to appropriate signage being installed on the new developments to
the east of Kenilworth to indicate the provision of a cycle corridor.
- add reference to the need for all highways to be made 'cycle safe' in terms of
drain and manhole covers.
- add reference to consideration will be given to connecting a cycle route from the
southern end of the green corridor through to Warwick Road south alongside the
new Kenilworth Rugby Club site.
4.10 KP14A Design Management in St John's
We agree that the St John's conservation area 'plays a crucial role in defining the
character of the town at (one of) its main entrances'. However, the St John's church
halls and carpark are in a relatively poor state of repair and the land in front of the St
John's vicarage serves no useful purpose. The recent internal redevelopment of the
church is welcome in helping to make the building more of a community asset. We
would welcome, however, the Diocese giving consideration towards appropriate re-
development of the rest of this site.
4.11 KP15 Heritage Assets
We support the identification of the heritage assets listed with the exception of
a) the Youth Club building at St John's which we consider was only ever intended to
be a temporary construction as a decontamination unit and currently bears no
evidence of its former use, and
b) the Abbey Field Bowling Pavilion which, whilst whether or not it is 'a prime
example of 1920's Park architecture' is a subjective judgement, has served no
useful purpose for many years and, as a redundant eyesore, detracts from the
visitor experience to Abbey Fields. It also represents a security risk in its present
state. The future use of the building is long overdue for clarification. Either use
should be made of it for the benefit of residents and visitors or consideration
should be given towards its deconstruction.
4.12 KP16 Environmental Standards of New Buildings
We support proposals of new building that incorporate Passivhaus.
4.13 KP17 Industrial Estates
We support consideration being given to proposals being given to develop a
dedicated carpark for the railway station subject to replacing "the existing railway
bridge" with a ramped access bridge. We are concerned, prior to the station being
opened in December 2017, that the roads off this end of Farmer Ward Road are
already being used by shoppers and workers in the town centre. We are also
concerned about speeding on Farmer Ward Road and would support proposals to
introduce a 20mph restriction in this area which we fear will be heavily used for 'kiss
and drop' access to the station.
We also support, as mooted in the public meeting about the NP on 25 th July 2017,
the proposals to reduce the commercial/industrial use of Common Lane and to
replace it with more residential buildings.
4.14 KP18 Tourism, KP19 Green Infrastructure, KP20 Local Green Space and KP21
street trees
We support these proposals.

5 Monitoring & Review Policy
In addition to using data collecting in planning monitoring reports, we assume that the
Town Council's Planning Committee will consider each planning application and its fit
with the policies set out in the NP at the time of each application's submission.

6 Implementation
6.1 Community Infrastructure Levy
This list x needs approximate costings to be included and prioritisation that is consistent
with the NP's policies.
Our prioritisation would be:
i. creating cycle routes linking across the town;
ii. improving pedestrian access in the Town Centre and between the Town
Centre, the Castle and the new station;
iii. upgrade the existing leisure facilities at Castle Farm and Abbey Fields;
iv. create a ramped bridge between Farmer Ward Road and Priory Road;
v. improve signage and information to encourage tourists;
vi. build small business units to encourage new employment on the Thickthorn
site;
vii. create public open space at Abbey End for public meetings, discussions
and open-air performances.

We believe that no priority should be given to building a new Arts Centre and Hall at
Smalley Place, partial flooding of the Mere and an additional carpark in the Town
Centre.
We believe that local residents and organisations should be involved in decisions
about how best to spend Community Infrastructure Levy funds, as well as money
raised by applications to the HS2 Community and Business Funds.
6.2 Sustainable Transport
If the statement xi that "Given the compact nature of the town, walking and cycling
should be the first choice way of getting around for all those for whom it is appropriate"
is a firm policy then proposals favouring motor vehicles (including the Abbey End
carpark) should be dropped.
In addition, we support:
- plans for cycle training schemes for all ages and experience levels;
- introduction of 'measured mile' walks/runs;
- introduction of a Kenilworth Bikes scheme similar to the pwc unibikes at
Warwick University, the ofo bikes in Cambridge or 'Boris Bikes' in London,
and
- introduction of TukTuk taxis similar to those in London, York and Portsmouth.
6.3 Road Safety
We welcome the proposals in the NP xii for 20mph outside all schools in the town. We
would suggest that the 'other appropriate areas of the Town' include:
- all new developments off Birches Lane and Glasshouse Lane;
- the area bounded by and including Farmer Ward Road, Priory Road, Waverley
Road, Abbey Hill, Brookside Avenue, Siddeley Avenue, St Nicholas Road and St
John's gyratory,
- and Fishponds Road.
We also support a gradual phasing in of a 20 mph speed limit for the whole town.

Notes
i Pre-Submission Plan Section 1.4 p7
ii 2011 Census. For example Stratford upon Avon has only 28% aged 60 and over.
iii In July 2017 Kenilworth Liberal Democrats initiated efforts by the Town Council to stop these closures.
iv NP p13 para 1
v NP p12 para 2, p16 para 3
vi Also delete the need to build a theatre from the list of possible projects for investment of Community
Infrastructure Levy funds.
vii NP p36 paras 3-6
viii For more information on this initiative see http://www.forrefugees.uk/
ix NP p39 KP8i
x NP p61
xi NP p62 para 2
xii NP p62 para 5