A PACKED public meeting at Lapworth village hall on Monday (November 30) saw almost 100 angry residents question the developer behind the planning application for a 208 berthing marina on green belt land in the village.
Jeff Mason, director of Staffordshire–based, GJP Marina Developments Ltd, addressed villagers from Hockley Heath and Lapworth outlining his company’s plans for a 32 acre marina development in the locality.
The application is set for consideration by Warwick District Council early in the New Year but already it has been criticised by local MPs Caroline Spelman and James Plaskitt as well as many residents in the community.
Mr Mason said: “Immediate residents are naturally very concerned and would prefer to see the status quo.
“I was surprised at the extent of their concerns but we believe there’s a strong demand for a marina on the Stratford-upon -Avon canal.
“We believe the marina will be a tranquil development. There won’t be any shops or pubs to encourage non boaters so traffic generation on Wharf Lane would be small. Assuming we get planning consent, it will be an attractive amenity.”
He added: “I think it’s a general concern about any sort of development because people know the area as it is and people are concerned about change.
“As a marina operator we are anxious to encompass the local community. We have just completed a marina in Chester and the local people who were initially opposed to the plans are now thrilled with it.”
But at the meeting several villagers voiced concerns about the access road off Wharf Lane as well as the marina’s implications for wildlife. Others raised the issue of the development’s threats to existing drainage and flooding problems.
Mr Mason said: “We have prepared a document which shows very little environmental impact and to some extent it will actually enhance the wildlife.”
Lapworth Parish councillors voted unanimously to oppose the planning application.
Meanwhile planning applications for marinas in Grove Lane and Stripes Hill Farm both in Knowle are set to be debated on December 16 at Solihull Council.