Leamington Neighbourhood Plan

ANOTHER STEP FORWARD

The FINAL version of the Royal Leamington Spa Neighbourhood Development Plan is now published and will be an important consideration, with immediate effect, in planning and development applications.  In planning jargon, the Plan is now a material consideration so carries weight.

The complete version is here and the area to which it applies here

This is the version that the town will vote on, in the coming referendum.  The date for this will be set by WDC when the present pandemic restrictions are relaxed.

We should all support the Neighbourhood Plan in the referendum to give the Town Council power to manage the development of the town.

Thank you to the Town Council and the large number of volunteers who have done so much to produce this Plan.

£1.8 million funding by C&W LEP

A grant of £1.8 million from the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) will enable transformation of the forecourt of Leamington Station railway station, prioritising greener travel, linking bus, taxi, cycle and rail.

This funding, bringing long-term benefits, is driven by the international bowls competitions being held at Victoria Park as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.  It is estimated these will bring £26 million to local businesses.

WDC, working with the Town Council, BID Leamington and the Chambers of Trade, a total of £3.6 million in all will be available to address the town’s transport problems of chronic air pollution and road congestion.

For more on this see WDC Press Release

Newbold Comyn Draft Masterplan

The Leamington Society has responded to the Masterplan consultation by WDC on Newbold Comyn.  In summary the Society:

  • welcomes the new Nature Reserve area but felt the cycle track within it would be intrusive
  • believes the provision for cycling is excessive; cycling should be restricted to the north edge of the site
  • recognises the importance of physical fitness with a variety of facilities suitable for all ages
  • believe there is little future for golf on Newbold Comyn but there might be value in a pitch and putt facility
  • recognises the value of an artificial turf football pitch
  • is concerned about possible vandalism to new structures and nature hubs
  • questions the thinking on access to the site and provision of additional car spaces, and deplores any apparent mention of improved public transport or a cycle park

The Masterplan is a pre-Covid document; a post-Covid version is needed

To read the society response in full go to Leamington Society response

You are encouraged to respond to the consultation by June 30 (revised date).

Warwickshire County Council approve funding for K2L Cycleway

WCC unanimously approved funding of £4.75 million for a dedicated cycle path from Kenilworth to Leamington in December.

The 5 km (3 mile) route will start at the bridleway from Glasshouse Lane in Kenilworth on the B4115 and A452, ending close to the north end of Northumberland Road in Leamington, including a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the River Avon at Chesford.  There will be Toucan crossings for pedestrians.

This will ensure a high quality, continuous cycle track to overcome the main barrier to cycling – the danger posed by motor vehicles.  The current lack of safe cycling provision, high traffic volume (30,000 vehicles a day), narrow roads, large roundabouts on the A452 are all hostile to cycling.

It is hoped that the route will eventually link to others, like to the University of Warwick.

The proposal for its construction was made several decades ago, supported by Cycleways and the Green Party among others.  Warwick District Council, both Town Councils, and the University are strongly supportive.

Replacing vehicles by cycles will bring health benefits for the cyclists, reduce vehicles and pollution on the roads and reduce car-parking requirements.  Wins all round.  “An idea whose time has finally come” said one Councillor.

Barbara Lynn

Czech Memorial Foundation restored

Czech fountain celebration -1On October 27th local people joined the Czech community to celebrate the restoration of the Czech memorial fountain in Jephson Gardens which has been listed as an historic monument Grade II. This was the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the fountain commemorating the occasion when a brave group of young Czech men, trained in Leamington,  sacrificed their lives in defence of their country after assassinating the Nazi leader, Reinhard Heydrich.

It was also 100 years since the Czech Republic was created, and both the Czech and the Slovak embassies were represented at the event. Red roses were laid by the Czechs and local dignitaries, and a group of small children sang a Czech song – a fitting end to a moving occasion.

 Margaret Begg

Station friends’ talk Oct 25th

Anthony Coulls, Senior Curator of the National Rail Museum at York

This was the first “national” Museum outside London and there were questions in Parliament about the location. The British Transport collection in Clapham was split into its component parts (rail, bus, aircraft, cars …) in 1975 and is still in transition. Rail is mainly in York and Shildon, near Darlington, but some “large lumpy things” in Anthony’s charge are in Swindon, Doncaster, Tyseley, Didcot, Bressingham … .  Engines and wagons and carriages are moved about – with difficulty.

Anthony’s philosophy is that the NRM is a museum for everyone, not just train spotters and rail enthusiasts.  We are all affected by the railways. The aim is to preserve not only the rare and beautiful: Puffing Billy and the Flying Scotsman, (seen above on the turntable at York) but also the modern and commonplace: commuter carriages, freight wagons.  Some of these have given 40 years of long service and travelled millions of miles, but when the model is superseded, they are consigned to scrap. The museum undertakes to repair and conserve and repaint at least one example of each type for future generations to enjoy.

There are three stars in railway history: Trevithick, Stephenson and Wickens – and very few have heard of him. He was a professor in the aerospace industry, called in by British Rail to design the jet-propelled Advance Passenger Train, father of the Pendolino and other high speed trains. According to Anthony, they do not run or roll but fly!

There was material here for several lectures. Our national heritage is in the best hands. His parents and teachers were there to enjoy it too.

Marianne Pitts.

Visit to Hill Close Gardens in Warwick

Hill Close Gardens, Warwick, was the venue for the latest meeting of members of the Leamington Society on Thursday 11th October. Members were invited to a special guided tour of the historic gardens, to be followed by afternoon tea.

These are the last remaining examples of gardens laid out from 1845 on what was originally pasture land. They were rented by Warwick tradesmen, living in the town above their premises, with no space for a garden or relaxation. In these new gardens they could grow vegetables or flowers, plant fruit trees or keep poultry. Many also built summerhouses of wood or brick as shelter or a place to enjoy the peace and fresh air of a detached garden outside the town.

Visitors to the gardens today will see the restored layouts and the very different gardens: not only 60 varieties of apple trees and 11 of pear trees, but seasonal flowers, fruit, vegetables in abundance.

Barbara Lynn.

Gold! Heart of England in Bloom

Annabel Rainbow writes; I’m delighted to confirm that Leamington has received a Gold award in this year’s Heart of England in Bloom.

I wanted to say a personal thank you to everyone who helped with the tour, portfolio, and of course The Magazine, – you’re fabulous, thank you! 😍

We’ve started planning for next year already and have one or two new things in mind but they are still in the “thinking it through” stages. We hope to be in touch soon if that’s ok, but if you have any ideas how we can support local groups and individuals like yourselves please do get in touch. All ideas welcomed! Annabel