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Pickles rejects greenbelt business park

Words: Laura Edgar

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has rejected a scheme for a £250 million business park on green belt land near Coventry Airport.

The £450 million Coventry Gateway project included proposals for office space, a hotel and industrial units.

Those campaigning against the project deemed the rejection by Pickles “excellent”.

Following the inspector's recommendation to refuse, in his letter (pdf) of rejection, Pickles cites several reasons for his decision, including that the proposals conflicted with development plan policies that seek to restrict commercial and industrial development in the green belt.

Pickles says in the letter that ultimately, the development “would have an overall substantial adverse effect on the green belt” because of the amount of green belt land that would be affected.

Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chairman Jonathan Browning said it is “disappointed” and “perplexed” by the decision because it believes that the case for development is strong, especially given that Coventry City Council and Warwickshire District Council initially approved the project.

He explained: “The LEP has long viewed Gateway as a nationally significant employment site in Coventry and Warwickshire – with real potential of attracting major development from inward investors and expanding companies.”

Browning added that the development could have created around 10,000 jobs, further strengthening “Coventry and Warwickshire’s reputation as a driving economic force in the UK as the heartbeat of the technology, manufacturing and logistics sectors.”

Image courtesy of Ian Halsey