It’s hardly surprising that Brownshill Green residents are up in arms over the prospect of expanding their rural fringe hamlet with as many as 475 homes. No doubt the residents who have back gardens looking onto the fields of Coundon Wedge will be accused of being nimbys. But this isn’t a fair criticism when the community at Brownshill Green is a well-established, traditional mix of town dwellers and the farming fraternity. An expanded community of incomers will change it forever.
The hamlet is scheduled to become a Conservation Area in the recently published Coventry Local Plan.
There are however good reasons why this housing development should be put on hold for the foreseeable future. It needs to be viewed in the context of other large developments that are about to take place: on the A45 at Eastern Green and the other huge development at Keresley.
It appears from what we read in the press that the Council is considering whether an environmental impact assessment is required. Surely this is absolutely essential as the combination of the several housing developments will have a huge knock-on effect for residents in Allesley, Coundon, Radford and Chapelfields. In truth, apart from the need for more schools, a local shop and doctors, the whole argument must surely revolve around the matter of getting around. More households joining the ever increasing tide of traffic from Birmingham and north Warwickshire shouldn’t be an option. The pollution issue is also dire and according to National Government must be remedied.
Take a look at all the cities in the same league as Coventry and most have several park and ride hubs. Coventry has one. This must change so that the in and out tide of traffic is reduced to a manageable proportion. These transport hubs really should be the centres of a rapid transport network linking the city centre, the West Coast Mainline, the rail stations to Birmingham, Rugby, Leamington and Nuneaton. And local transport to these hubs? Push bikes, electric cycles, district centre buses, even cars! We need to think outside the box otherwise our roads in and out of the city become more and more unbearable for motorists and I pity the people living on or near these main roads who have to breathe the exhaust gases.
Then there’s the question of whether it’s desirable to nibble away at another section of Coundon Wedge. The city desperately needs this ‘green lung’ to mitigate pollution levels across the city. We are also in urgent need of better ‘countryside’ recreation facilities and we shouldn’t forget that the Wedge, less than two miles from the city centre, fulfils this purpose admirably. The city desperately needs this ‘lung’. Why haven’t we designated it a country park encouraging young and old to better acquaint themselves with the healing power of nature.
We are a long way off balancing all these factors. So before further housing developments are brought forward in Coventry north-west a more realistic appreciation of the area needs to be taken by the Council. Yes, the site at Brownshill Green was finally adopted for housing in December 2018, but there are hugely important considerations that need to be taken into account before another brick is laid.
You can look at the application on the council’s Planning Portal.
Keith Draper, former Chairman of the Coventry Society