The following petition of 1,200 signatures was presented to Warwick District Council in 2014.
Title: Protect St Mary Lands Warwick from any further Development
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, or reduce the amount of land available for free public recreation.
We demand that any future management plan for St Mary Lands, recognises that this was Warwick’s Common for hundreds of years, and the deep affection it is held in by local residents; and has no changes in land-use that are in conflict with any part of the Warwick District Council Act 1984
We note that the existing Management Plan for St Mary Lands, which was adopted by the full council in 2005, was drafted after extensive public consultations and the active involvement of a wide range stakeholders.
We note that in 2001 there was unanimous agreement from WDC Councillors that the central area of St Mary Lands be protected from any further development, and that a public consultation strongly supported this.
We should reasonably expect that any changes to the existing management plan, would first have to be fully justified, and then a similar transparent , public and accountable process undertaken in drafting a new management plan; to that used in forming the 2005 plan. Which should then have extensive public consultation, on a fully costed published plan, including public meetings.
We would expect any new master plan to be an evolution of the existing management plan, and to include a full assessment on its success and to account fully for how the £3.2 million of public money was spent.
Given that St Mary Lands was adopted as a local wildlife site in 2011, we would expect that any changes, that impact on biodiversity, have a full Environmental Impact Assessment; and this should be part of any master plan or management plan for St Mary Lands.
The proposed changes in the GVA Report have only involved a very narrow group of leasehold tenants, and appear to be mainly driven by their financial interests, and therefore do not constitute a “master plan” fit to replace the existing management plan or to meet the criteria set out in CT7 of the Draft Local Plan.