Coventry City Council’s bid to block Wilsons Lane development overturned following inquiry

A planning inspector has granted permission to housing association giant L&Q to build a 73-home scheme which had been refused by Coventry city councillors against the advice of officers.

The inspector, following an inquiry, disagreed with councillors’ claims that the Wilsons Lane development would create highway safety problems and affect people’s living conditions due to extra traffic.

The land, previously within the green belt, was promoted by L&Q’s land arm L&Q Estates through the Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Plan. Subsequently, it was removed from the green belt and allocated for employment land and dwellings. 

In June 2020, L&Q Estates submitted a planning application to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC) and Coventry City Council to deliver 73 homes and 55,750 square metres of commercial floor space, on A444 land at Longford, Coventry.

The majority of the development site is located within the Nuneaton and Bedworth boundary and received planning permission from NBBC in March 2022.

Wilsons Lane L&Q

A diagram of the development site

Credit: Pegasus Group for L&Q Estates

But part of the site is in CCC’s boundaries and the city council rejected the proposed development in October 2022.

Local residents raised concerns that employee parking, and drop-offs and pick-ups on Wilsons Lane and Old Farm Lane would negatively impact their living conditions.

In July 2019, 246 people signed a petition objecting to L&Q’s pre-application proposal, stating it was “out of scale for the area”. Another petition in July 2020 received 319 signatures.

CCC also expressed concerns about the proposed development’s commercial side potentially operating 24 hours a day.

A Government Inspector was appointed by the Secretary of State to assess L&Q’s appeal. In his report, he concluded that residents were unlikely to be affected by vehicle activities, “particularly given the distance from the site”.

He added that data indicated that a maximum of 15 employees would arrive at the site in vehicles in a single hour during peak hours, and therefore that the impact “will not be excessive”. He ordered CCC to pay L&Q’s appeal costs.

L&Q’s Wilsons Lane development will deliver 73 homes, 25% of which will be affordable. It will also provide 55,750 sqm of employment space, a play area, footpaths, cycle routes and landscaping.

>>See also: L&Q builds 4,000 homes for second successive year despite surplus squeeze

>>See also: Leading the pack: an interview with L&Q’s Fiona Fletcher-Smith

Adrian Clack , managing director of L&Q, stated the 105,000-home housing association had taken into account the concerns of residents during the application process.

Clack said: “We are pleased to have received outline planning permission for this site off Wilsons Lane which will provide much-needed new housing and employment in the area”.

He added: “The site is perfectly situated for businesses involved in the logistics sector due to its proximity to the M6, which will help in turn to provide valuable employment opportunities and economic growth.”