At a packed meeting of the Friends of St. Mary’s Lands on 7th August 2017, the Masterplan proposals contained in the Warwick District Council Executive Report were discussed. This was the first opportunity for the views of members to be sought on the latest Masterplan and the following contentious proposals were unanimously not supported.
The Cycle Route – Members voted unanimously against this proposal. Members fully support the creation of a safe cycle route for local schools but the original route past the Stand has been changed. The current route takes cyclists across a busy highway and has increased safety and cost implications. Since WDC have a policy of Duty of Care to Children and Warwickshire County Council promote Safer Routes for Schools, members ask Councillors to review this proposal and consider FoSML’s alternative suggestions.
Additional Parking opposite Bread and Meat Close (Saltisford Brook Car Park) – Members voted unanimously against this proposal. It is understood that the Safety Audit carried out by WCC highlighted safety issues which members believe would be exacerbated by the inevitable increase in traffic resulting from the Masterplan proposals. Alternatives were suggested by members which were safer and would avoid any loss of green space. It was agreed that parking is already adequate for visitors to SML and surrounding facilities and additional parking should not provide overspill parking for WDC.
A petition of 1200 signatories presented to WDC in February 2015 asked WDC “to honour their earlier commitments to the residents of the town of Warwick and fully protect St Mary Lands Warwick, from any further development which would impact upon the open nature of the land”.
The following proposal from the floor was carried unanimously:-
“The Friends of St. Mary’s Lands are opposed to the building of a hotel on the Race Common on the grounds of road safety, the impact on the historic character and visual amenities of the Race Common.
Concerns were also expressed regarding the possibility of further expansion which could follow such a development and also the negative impact another hotel would have on the existing hotels and B & Bs in the area.”
The meeting noted that the proposal for a hotel received a negative (minus) response in the Public Consultation.
Name Change – Members voted unanimously against the proposal for an online competition to change the name of St. Mary’s Lands.
Members also request that the padlocked gate at the end of St. Mary’s No. 4 car park be removed as it is preventing pedestrian access through to Jubilee Wood.
Members voted unanimously that they are opposed to any further development on St. Mary’s Lands.
The meeting noted that Warwick Town Council has not yet discussed the Masterplan proposals.