On February 4th 2015, we attended the Cabinet meeting of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council to speak against the plans to add 2000 additional homes in the Borough but unfortunately the decision was taken to accept this extra housing need. These homes are deemed to be required as our share of those needed across Coventry and Warwickshire ( up to 2031) by the Economic Prosperity Board ( see the post of that name). The figures in the report show that the greatest need is in Coventry but a lot of the recent population increase in Coventry is due to the expansion of the two universities. Without additional infrastructure and job , our Borough will not cope. If houses are built but there are no new jobs, everyone is having to commute for work and the roads gridlock. We still have no Borough Plan and yet the councillors on the Cabinet claimed it was nothing to do with the Borough Plan! Of course it is! The Cabinet said they had a ‘duty to co-operate’ but this does not mean ‘a duty to accept anything that is requested’. The decisions are made behind closed doors. Cllr Harvey claimed that they are public meetings – the truth is that as soon as they get to any important bits the public are excluded! We will keep fighting for a fair Borough Plan and sensible planning decisions but it gets increasingly difficult when these sort of decisions are taken without any public consultation and the developers say that we don’t have enough housing to meet our obligations.
Back in October 2014, Cllr Dennis Harvey, leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC), mentioned in his weekly column in the local newspaper that there was a meeting at the Town Hall that Friday, which was open to the public and was a meeting of all the leaders of the district/borough councils in Warwickshire, Warwickshire County Council (WCC), Coventry City Council (CCC), the Local Enterprise Partnership(LEP) and neighbouring Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council. I went along and was amazed by what was being discussed.
They are proposing to form an Economic Prosperity Board, which would make decisions on things like housing numbers for the whole area, Green Belt, Infrastructure decisions -in the name of Economic Prosperity - all with no public consultation or scrutiny. I, along with others, have now attended two further meeting and it is noticable that they are discussing less in the parts of the meeting that the public can attend and more in closed session.
This group is currently known as a Shadow Economic Scrutiny Board (EPB)
The meetings are held in a different place each time and the minutes and papers are hosted on Rugby Borough Council’s website. We do not get to see the agenda in advance. There is virtually no transparency as to who is taking the decisions. It is all very undemocratic. We are continuing to try and find out as much as we can.
Few people are aware that after the local elections there will be a consultation over which green spaces will be lost to build 10,700 new homes.
We will not have a chance to change the numbers because they will not ask us how many is needed. The 8 options will just set one community against another as to where they go. One option is show below but every bit of green space is at risk in one of the 8 options. If the downturn ends we are going to lose a big amount of our space and have one massive traffic problem.