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Campaign to keep it green; ENVIRONMENT: Bid made to preserve area.

Byline: By Steve Evans

COUNTRYSIDE campaigners are launching a bid to preserve the green 'buffer' that separates Nuneaton from Bedworth.

They fear that a proposed 10,800 new homes being earmarked for the borough over the next 20 years will be "a deluge of development that will ruin the area."

They are calling on townsfolk to lodge objections to get the number of planned new homes reduced.

The campaign is being mounted by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) in the wake of proposals by the West Midlands Regional Assembly which could see Nuneaton and Bedworth's built-up areas increase by a massive 21 percent.

They say that even if half of the extra houses can be accommodated on brownfield sites - by redevelopment, in-fill, conversions - around 5,000 houses would need to be sited on what are now green fields in the borough.

Mark Sullivan, of Warwickshire CPRE, said: "The Regional Spatial Strategy's housing numbers, if imposed, will threaten the areas which were saved in the last 10 years by effective local campaigns.

"They would extend Bedworth west of the A444 bypass, into open countryside; fill the gap between the two towns and make them one long conurbation, and replace the green setting of Weddington with a sprawl of housing.

"The borough council's current forward planning work assumes the 10,800 extra houses. But these are not fixed - if enough people in the borough object to this figure it may be reduced and the green setting of the towns preserved."

Campaigners point out that the borough's current Local Plan keeps the Woodlands area of Bedworth green; has prevented further spread of housing at Weddington, and preserves the green gap between the two towns at Griff.

They say the extra 10,800 houses - the target for the 20 years to 2026 - would threaten all these green landscapes, each of which has been defended successfully by local campaigners in the last decade.

Mr Sullivan said: "Warwickshire CPRE is urging those who care about the future of Nuneaton and Bedworth to object to the figure for Nuneaton and Bedworth in the Regional Strategy, and to call on the Examining Panel to include provision in principle for extension to the Green Belt to save Bedworth Woodlands."

Objections should be sent to: Panel Secretary, West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy Examination, Government Office for the West Midlands, 5 St Philips Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2PW, to arrive by noon on December 8.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 13, 2008
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