Click on a heading with a blue arrow for more information. Click again to hide

Pass cursor over pictures with a light blue border to enlarge
Licensing law expanded to bungalow and two-storey house HiMOs
A new law, enforceable in October, will make life tougher for HiMO landlords. Landlords renting propertie to five or more people, (from two or more separate families) will need to be licensed for bungalows, some categories of flats and two-storey houses. This will have a significant impact on areas of high density student accommodation like Cannon Park, as it expands the current  HiMO licensing rule, which is restricted to properties of three or more storeys.

It  gives councils additional powers, backed central government funding, to crack down on unscrupulous landlords renting sub-standard and overcrowded homes

The move will also benefit communities fed up with living near shoddily maintained properties without proper bins, dumped rubbish and anti social behaviour. Landlords will be held responsible for making sure the council’s rules on refuse and recycling are followed.

Government has also set out details of criminal offences which could result in convicted landlords being banned. Someone convicted of offences such as burglary and stalking can be added to the database of rogue landlords and be barred from renting properties.

These latest measures build on government action to date to drive up safety and standards in the private rented sector. This includes bringing in fines of up to £30,000 for dodgy landlords, protections for tenants from revenge evictions and £12 million funding for councils to take enforcement action in hotspot areas.

Alok Sharma
Alok Sharma
Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said: “Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home. But some are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes. “Enough is enough and so I’m putting these rogue landlords on notice - shape up or ship out of the rental business.

“Through a raft of new powers we are giving councils the further tools they need to crack down on these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good.

The move will also benefit wider communities fed up with living near shoddily maintained properties without proper bins, dumped rubbish and anti social behaviour. Landlords will be held responsible for making sure the council’s rules on refuse and recycling are followed.

New rules will also come into force setting minimum size requirements for bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation to prevent overcrowding. As part of the licensing requirements, local councils will be able to make sure only rooms meeting the standard are used for sleeping.
For previous Stop Press articles, go to the Archives page
Kenilworth Road
Uni parkers will be given their ticket for parking on the Kenilworth Road
The city council is to spend nearly £13,000 on yellow lines to stop students and staff at Warwick University parking on the green verges of Kenilworth Road.

All-day parkers have ploughed up stretches of the grass near Gibbet Hill and caused danger to other motorists as they bump on and off the carriageway.

The university has tried to stop the practice but notices pinned to windscreens have been ignored.

Despite the obvious damage to council-owned land and the potential for traffic accidents, the local authority and police say they have not been able to prosecute because there are no signs or yellow lines presently warning the motorists that parking is prohibited

One regular user of the road, says she has been astonished by the parkers’ recklessness. “I was stunned driving up the Kenilworth Road towards the Gibbet Hill roundabout, when a car on the opposite side of the road mounted the verge and drove down the footpath towards me trying to find a space to park that has not been completely churned up by other member of the university already parked there.”

Although the lines will be  on the road the ban applies to the grass verges too. Offenders risk fines of up to £1000 and three penalty points if they are found to be causing danger.

The problem is mainly confined to a 100 metre stretch from the crest of Gibbet Hill on the  Coventry-bound carriageway. But the yellow lines will be painted along about a mile on both sides, from the Coventry border near Cryfield Grange Road to the A45 Fletchamstead Highway. Wainbody Ward councillor Tim Sawdon welcomed the decision. He said he had received many complaints about the parkers and the decision to act was taken quickly after all the options had been discussed.

While there will be a broad welcome for the measure, some may question why the taxpayer should be footing the bill.

The parking problems around the university are not confined to Kenilworth Road. Staff and students are prepared to park up to a mile away rather than pay campus car-parking fees.

It raises the question of whether it simply hasn’t enough spaces or is it too expensive?

*Has Kenilworth Road - once described as the most attractive gateway to a city in England - taken priority because it is a high-profile prestigious route? Residents living in Westwood Heath Road, Charter Avenue, Cannon Hill Road and many more smaller roads plagued by the uni parkers will be hoping that their concerns will be dealt with as effectively.

A council spokesman said: "We are currently in talks with our sub-contractor regarding the works and when they can be carried out. They will be done off-peak with lane closures, so the road will remain open to traffic."
Residents and local police join forces to put the brakes on speeders
Motorists speeding along Cannon Hill Road have been ‘clocked’ by police and residents in the first of a series of purges on drivers who are putting lives at risk. In just one hour on Wednesday morning (March 7) scores of drivers breaking the 30 mph were recorded.

Using speed recorder equipment provided by the Neighbourhood Police Team, residents from Cannon Hill backed up by Cannon Park Community Association members stood at the roadside bridge noting the reg-numbers.

The law-breakers can expect a letter from police.

PC Stuart Wheeler, who headed the Speedwatch initiative, warned motorists that this was just the start of the campaign. He said: “I am really pleased with the turnout of local residents today and hopefully that will continue for the other Speedwatch initiatives for Cannon Hill Road.” He hoped motorists would get the message that speeding would not be tolerated. Speedwatch is aimed at raising awareness of the dangers and if drivers ignored the warnings they would be prosecuted.

The road is a popular short-cut for Warwick University commuters cutting through from Kenilworth Road to Charter Avenue. It also has a primary school located on a sharp bend with no lollipop warden or pedestrian crossing, and a concealed entrance to Canley Cemetery. Mike Parsons, chairman of Cannon Park Community Association, said: “We would like to thank PC Wheeler and his colleague PC Karen Rayson for coming along today and supervising the event.

“The amount of traffic along Cannon Hill Road, which was once little more than a country lane, is considerable. Drivers should be taking extra care because of it narrowness, sharp bend and school entrance. Speeding is just plain reckless and puts lives at risk.”

*Coventry Community Speedwatch is a joint initiative between West Midlands Police and COventry City Council. If you are interested in taking part contact: cvcsw@westmidlands.pnn.police. uk
Sinclair’s C5 is ready to welcome uni’s open day visitors
Sinclair C5
In the history of tiny cars, the iconic Sinclair C5 earns its place about midway between the Bubble car and today’s Smart Cars.

From its birth at the Science Park alongside the University of Warwick it had a short but distinguished road life in the mid-1980s.

Developed by entrepreneur Clive Sinclair it won plaudits for engineering ingenuity but it was a commercial flop.

A few still survive in collectors’ garages but a rare opportunity to get a free ride in one presents itself at its spiritual home on Saturday, 17 March. That’s when the University of Warwick’s School of Engineering opens its doors to the public from 10am till 4pm.

Find out about tunnelling and bridge building, get a ride in a Sinclair C5, try the Virtual Reality demo, disassemble an engine - and maybe even win some Lego!

The Warwick Engineering Day is free and open to all to celebrate engineering in its many forms and showcase the work at the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick. Find out more on the Engineering School web site and on its Facebook page
£100,000 demanded for cycle path, but does it go far enough?
Cycle path

Developers who want to demolish a redundant office building and build a six-storey student housing block are being asked to stump up £100,000 for cycle paths.

The site at Westwood Way is notoriously car-congested and the Highways authority are insisting McLaren (The Oaks) Ltd pay towards a cycle way to the nearby campus. The demand is a key element of winning planning approval for the proposed complex for nearly 400 students at the University of Warwick. The move comes against a backdrop of increasing demands to the city council from local residents and businesses to curb traffic generated by the University of Warwick. Apart from the university, the proposed student block would neighbour a secondary school, business park, engineering school and a sports centre. All attract significant numbers of commuters, leaving residents facing daily queues to get on to major roads like the A45 and Kenilworth Road.

The offices, 1 The Oaks, (pictured above) is only a five minute walk from the campus and it would seem unlikely that many students would drive the short distance. More concerning is that the new complex only allows for 10 car parking spaces. With students and some staff reluctant to pay £4.50 a day campus parking, the fear will be that those with cars will add to the problems of on-street parking in the area.

The planning application is before the city council with a statement from the Highways authority: “No objections subject to a contribution of £100k towards the provision of cycle infrastructure between the site and the university campus; and conditions requiring cycle and car parking to be provided and a construction method statement.”

Under the plans there  would be 378 rooms with 90 self-contained and 288 in cluster flats. It would have communal recreation areas, gym, laundry facilities, external amenity space around the building at roof level on 5th floor, cycle storage for 114 cycles and car parking for 10 vehicles including 5 disabled and a drop off area.

Cycling campaign groups have in the past called on the university itself - which made a profit of more than £40m last year -to invest in better cycle paths to and from the campus. There is a designated cycle path from the campus to Kenilworth, but the cycle paths to popular student areas like Canley, Earlsdon, Tile Hill and Chapelfields are poorly marked, often shared pedestrian paths and dotted with hazards.
*For this and other plans, go to the Planning Applications page.
1 March 2018
Canley police station earmarked for closure
Canley police station
Canley police station has been earmarked for closure as part of drive by the West Midlands Force to save £5m.

The Fletchamstead Highway building, which is the base for the Neighbourhood Police Team covering the Cannon Park area, is one of three Coventry stations which are likely to be sold.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner says 24 station closures across the region are necessary to safeguard 100 officers’ jobs and to improve other police buildings. None of the three Coventry stations, Canley, Foleshill and Willenhall, is open to the public. They are used as bases for officers and staff

Nevertheless there will be public concern at the loss of a landmark police building, which until 2003 was open to the public, and remains a focus of law and order in the community.

Canley fire station
Canley Fire Station
But while the closure of Canley police station looks inevitable it raises the prospect of a relocation to the other side of the A45 - to the fire station. A Press spokesman for the Commission said that no discussion had taken place yet but “It will be considered.”

In announcing the proposed closures, the Commission said that West Midlands Police would share space in an initial four West Midlands Fire Service buildings. It added: “Further plans to share buildings with other public sector bodies, such local councils and the NHS are being developed too. Whilst clearly this will help to reduce costs for the police it will also help public services work better together.”

David Jamieson
David Jamieson
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: "After £145 million cuts since 2010 and with the level of funding from government being squeezed year on year, I am having to continue to find efficiencies to protect officer numbers. The £5 million annual savings proposed in this strategy will help protect 100 police officer posts. "No police station will close until a new, more efficient public contact office opens in the local area.”

A final decision on the closures will be made on March 20.  Local police commanders have been asked to  discuss the proposals with their communities during a month long engagement period.
22 February 2018
Young deer struck down on the Kenilworth Road
Dead deer
A male deer was killed on the Kenilworth Road near the Cannon Hill Road junction overnight Wednesday (Feb 15).

The creature lay dead at the side of the carriageway, as commuters and pedestrians passed by until Saturday.

The ​fawn, a roe or a muntjac, was thought to have been hit by a car as it tried to cross from the spinney on the city-bound side of the road. The death was a tragic reminder of how dangerous the stretch - from the Fletchamstead Highway to the top of Gibbet Hill - is for wildlife. The spinnies on both sides of the road are grazing and hunting grounds for foxes, squirrels and the elusive muntjac and roe deer.

Not many are lucky enough to have spotted the secretive small deers. Sadly, for many the sight of a dead one on the grass verge may be the only one they will see.
Kenilworth Road

*The spinnies lining the Kenilworth Road are owned and maintained by Coventry City Council. As such they are public land and are not owned by the householders, whose properties and gardens are behind the woodland.

The residents are permitted a right of way on the drives through the spinny to their properties but have no right to block public access to the woods. Two years ago, the city council threatened to prosecute those residents who gated the entrance at the start of the drives but it never took court action. Since then it has been negotiating with individual residents to voluntarily remove the gates. Most have complied although they appear to have been allowed to retain the gate entrance posts which, together with the bordering hedge, give the misleading impression the woodlands are private.
20 February 2018
Thoughtless uni commuters are making our lives a misery, say protesters
Cannon Hill protesters
Tracy James, second from left, and her neighbours on Cannon Hill Road, are demanding the city council take action to stop uni commuters park​i​ng outside their homes.
Residents in a terraced row of homes on Cannon Hill Road are paying the price for Warwick University staff and students dodging campus parking fees.

The uni commuters are hogging spaces intended for householders along the stretch between the junctions of Orlescote Road and Atherstone Place.

While it saves them a few pounds a day, it’s leaving residents fuming at their thoughtlessness. And facing a daily scramble to find a spot anywhere near their own homes.

Some residents are reluctantly having to leave their cars overnight in the small car park outside the Canley Cemetery entrance or the nearby row of shops.

For resident Tracy James the problem is becoming unbearable. She said: “ I have a son of 13 who attends a school for special needs children. A mini-bus collects and brings him home but often can’t pull in because of the university parkers. “It’s very stressful for him when he can’t be dropped off near his home, and for all of us here who never know if we’ll find a space. “I have an elderly neighbour who isn’t able to walk far and needs to park near her home, But these university people leave us nowhere to go.”

Tracy and her neighbours say they have tried reasoning with the parkers - whose cars often display badges identifying them as university staff - but their attitude is “we don’t care.”

Cars are often left parked until late at night or occasionally over night, she said. The culprits were not only out to save money on parking fees, they were using the streets as a means of getting a quick getaway from the congestion around the uni.

The “lay-by” style bays were put in along the road several years ago when the city council recognised the need for the homeowners to have spaces to park on an increasingly busy road.

The siting of their homes doesn’t allow for garages or driveways.

A petition has been organised by Tracy which urges the city council to make the bays residents-only.

It can be signed at the Lavish hairdressing salon on Cannon Hill Road, or you can contact Tracy 128 Cannon Hill Road.

The parking problems caused by uni personnel have led to a wave complaints from residents across the Cannon Hill area, Charter Avenue, Westwood Heath and the Kenilworth Road. Helen May, University of Warwick Community Partnerships Officer, said her colleagues in Estates and Campus Security are working with police and both local authorities to find a solution.

“We advise our staff and students to not park on local roads and we encourage staff to use other forms of transport where possible (cycling, public transport, our free campus shuttle bus link from Canley station and car sharing).

“We did try placing notices on cars in the Kenilworth Road area as a trial but, as our message was advisory, we found that it didn’t discourage cars from parking. I know that local police are trying to prioritise serving notices on cars parked illegally when time allows them but as I’m sure you’ll understand, where cars are not causing an obstruction or contravening any parking restrictions, we are all limited in what can be done."

She added that she had been informed that Coventry City Council are continuing to consider what extra restrictions could be implemented to prevent this parking.
14 February 2018
Council chief defends student housing HiMO policies
Councillor Duggins
The Cannon Park Community Association challenged Coventry council leader George Duggins to explain why his​ council had refused to control the growth of family homes being converted to students' accommodation, as many other university cities have, by introducing a planning law, known as an Article 4 Direction. We also questioned whether the council was putting the universities' needs before its residents. This is his response.

Coventry City Council is working to balance the needs of our residents with those of our universities and to ensure there is good quality, suitable housing for all.

As part of this work, the Cabinet Member for Community Development considered a petition concerning Houses in Multiple Occupation in November.

Council officers looked at the use of Article 4 Directions and how they can be used to manage such houses, but several issues were highlighted, including the fact that they cannot be applied retrospectively; they can take a year before being fully implemented and they require extensive evidence to justify their use.

Another area of concern, and a more important one for us as a Council, was the fact that not all Houses in Multiple Occupation are for students – they can help support other housing needs and provide homes for people who need them.

As a Council, we are pursuing a policy of promoting the delivery of purpose-built student accommodation, which will provide suitable homes for our students and at the same time ease pressure on traditional family homes and reduce the need for these to be converted.

Early signs are that this policy is working, with a notable upturn in vacant bed spaces in Houses in Multiple Occupation, and fewer properties coming to market.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and a report is due back before the Cabinet Member in November of this year. A part of the evidence we consider will be the research and data collected by Cannon Park residents, which we have requested and are hoping to receive soon.

I know that residents have submitted a second petition around the issue of Houses in Multiple Occupation and a report will be presented to the Cabinet Member next month. We would urge residents to share any information they have collected with our officers so it can be properly investigated.

The University is an important and valued part of city life and we work to support them as a Council, as we do with all other businesses across the city.

We work very hard to make sure all businesses and educational institutions are given the platform they need to succeed – that helps the whole city and all its residents. We need our organisations to be able to compete with the very best from around the region, the country and the world – that is what attracts investment and creates a prosperous city with a good quality of living.

However, that support does not in any way, affect our duty as a Council. Our dealings with the university and others are completely transparent and open to inspection and they have been carried out with the best interests of the city at heart and with full regard to all our legal duties and obligations.

We would take issue with any suggestion that implies otherwise and would expect any such accusation to be backed by evidenc.

We would like to reassure you that we are continuing to monitor the situation and promote the delivery of purpose-built student accommodation. We believe this will help us to support the valuable work of our universities and protect traditional family homes so they are there for those who need them.
Posted 8 February 2018
New alliance will target speedsters on Cannon Hill Road
Speed check
Members of Cannon Park Community Association met with our Neighbourhood Policing Team at Canley Station to agree a new alliance in the fight against crime.

It was the first opportunity to put our concerns to Sergeant Amy Wright who leads the team based at Canley Police Station.

After an open and frank discussion over what the residents wanted and what was possible with stretched police resources, the meeting ended with a clear idea of what could be achieved.

The residents’ representatives, led by Mike Parsons, had pitched for immediate police enforcement of speed limits along Cannon Hill Road, which takes heavy commuter traffic to the university and is a notoriously hazardous road with an entrance to a primary school on a sharp bend.

Resident Pip Poutney produced recorded data with photos showing that each week more than 2,700 motorists broke the 30 mph speed limit, some racing at up to 60-70.

It was not a case of an accident waiting to happen, she explained. Accidents had happened, including one in the past involving a crossing warden who gave up the job after narrowly escaping injury when her ‘lollipop’ sign was struck by a car.

Pip is a veteran of five Community Speedwatch events, whereby police set up a roadside camera alongside volunteer residents, clocking the speeds of motorists. Its aim was to act as a deterrent and offenders were not prosecuted. That was a major flaw, she insisted. In her experience, the initiative had been unsuccessful and she wanted to know what the police could now do “not what you can’t.” PC Stuart Wheeler explained that under the revamped Community Speedwatch programme there was an option for enforcement events where persistent speeders could face prosecution or speed awareness courses

There would be four roadside community speed watch events (volunteer residents alongside an officer recording speeding motorists) which would be non confrontational, as vehicles were not being stopped.

PC Wheeler, who’s had 25 years experience in the force, much of it concerned with road traffic policing, insisted the system would work and was a considerable improvement on previous initiatives. Sgt Wright made it clear that this approach was working in other areas of the ​city and clearly the best option on current staffing levels.

She accepted traffic issues were a serious problem, not just in Cannon Hill, but city-wide. With the limited resources available to her, the priorities had to be focused on tackling burglaries, robberies and antisocial behaviour.

In that respect, she said, the Canon Park-Cannon Hill area was fortunate in that it had one of the lowest serious crime rates, not just in the south of the city but in the whole of Coventry.

The meeting CHCA, ended on a positive note.

*A speedwatch programme would be set up along Cannon HIll road as soon as possible.
*The CPCA accepted a generous offer by the officers to meet regularly at a room in the station equipped with projection equipment.
*The CPCA offered its assistance in the work the police is doing to connect with overseas students to help them with a better understanding of their new locality.
* There was unanimous commitment for police and residents to work together to make the neighbourhood a better place to live and work.
Increase in student tenants at former family home refused
36 Cannon Hill Road
36 Cannon Hill Road
The owner of 36 Cannon Hill Road has been refused permission to increase its occupancy to nine students. The city council rejected the proposal after receiving 21 letters of objection from nearby residents. Another decisive factor was a warning from the highways authority of the severe impact any further expansion would have on road safety because of limited parking space

Two years ago, owner Darshan Johal, controversially won approval to convert the former family home to an eight-bedroom House in Multiple Occupation (HiMO).

His application had been thrown out by city planners who agreed with neighbours that it was over- development and detrimental to a residential area.

But Mr Johal, of Kenilworth Road, won his case on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. He made his application to add a further tenant a few days before Christmas.

It may have passed unnoticed by residents but for the sharp-eyed intervention of ward councillor John Blundell who complained that the application had been made prior to a major holiday period, leaving insufficient time for public consultation.

An extension was given and the Cannon Park Community Association (CPCA) leafleted the area to make sure residents were aware of the new deadline.

CPCA chairman MIke Parsons said: “In our view, the granting on appeal of an eight-bedroom HiMO was a travesty which could have been avoided in the first place.

“The door is left wide open to over-development of what are family homes to student hostels by the city council’s refusal to adopt a law, as many other university cities have done, allowing it to limit their numbers in any given area.

“However, the latest decision indicates the council is fighting back, albeit having tied one-arm tied behind its own back.”

“The reaction from residents has been brilliant. It sends out a clear warning to all developers who try to bulldoze their way through communities, disregarding residents’ concerns. They will be opposed every step of the way.”
For previous articles, go to the Archives page
Written and produced by and for the residents of Cannon Park/Cannon Hill and neighbouring areas. Your contributions are welcomed. Contact us at

Editorial Comment

White Willow
White Willow Park
Students' landlords reap rewards from new Canley estates

NEW housing estates built under the Canley Regeneration Plan are serving to invigorate the profits of private landlords exploiting the demand for student accommodation. The former Henry Parkes School and nearby Prior Deram Walk recreation ground were sold off by the city council with the aim of providing a range of family homes to breath new life in the area.

The reality is they have become major targets for buy-to-let investors who are snapping them up for student-rentals in the lucrative Houses in Multiple Occupation market.

Is this the vision our elected representatives had when they sold off public land to the private sector?

Lynette Kelly
Lynette Kelly
When the city council struck the deal to sell the school site, Councillor Lynnette Kelly, then cabinet member for city development, said: “There will be real benefits for local people".

Some of the money from selling the site has gone towards improvements in the area, but the major beneficiary of White Willow Park would appear to be property investors The sites have obvious advantages for students. They are within walking distance of the uni and Canley Halt rail station and are next to the A45.

Historically, White Willows has strong links with educational use. Yet it lay derelict for many years before a buyer came forward.

What a pity Warwick University? didn't seize the opportunity.

A purpose-built student complex here would have been far preferable to privately-funded "student villages" like the 450-bed private development given planning approval in Marler Road, Canley, an area of traditional family housing. House buy-to-rents have flourished against a background of the city council’s refusal in impose a planning rule, known as an Article 4 Direction which permits it to limit HiMOs. More than 60 other local authorities have adopted the rule, including Birmingham, Leicester, Wolverhampton and Warwick.

The 13-acre  White Willow Park, which has about 211 houses of which 21 were set aside for affordable “social housing”.

The remainder are so popular with private landlords, looking to rent out to University of Warwick students, the estate now has letting agents operating from the site. One is currently advertising no fewer than 16 properties to let on White Willow Park alone. There are estimated to be at least 44 houses on the estate let to students. The same scenario could be repeated at the nearby Deram Parke, where 245 homes are under construction.

Two representatives of the Cannon Park Community Association called at the sales office earlier this month and were told 18 of the first batch of 38 houses had already been sold to the “buy to let market.”

Not all will be be let to students, there is high demand from incoming JLR workers.

A spokeswoman for the Association said: “This poses a serious problem, as families/couples or people coming to work in this area are priced out of this rental market. “For example, the monthly rental price of a 3 bedroom house on White Willow Park is £1,875, a 4 bedroom house is £2,253 and a 5 bed is currently advertised as £2,947.” There is currently a proposal for a housing estate in the neighbouring area of Westwood Heath, which falls under the planning authority of Warwick District Council. The plan for a 425-home “Garden Village” is expected to win approval

Developer Crest Nicholson is confident that it won’t become a student village despite its closeness to Warwick University and the evidence of what’s happening at Canley. A spokesman for the firm said: “The application will deliver a high-quality new community that incorporates Garden Village principles and provides a variety of family homes, of which 40 per cent which will be set aside as affordable homes for local families.

“This site was previously allocated for new homes in Warwick District Council’s Local Plan and will meet the need of the local area. “Crest Nicholson has no intention that these homes should be converted to HMOs. They are designed to provide for a local need for family housing. The council has a range of planning powers to regulate HMOs and this is something we are happy to discuss as part of our ongoing dialogue for the submitted planning application.” Unlike Coventry, Warwick District Council has adopted Article 4 to limit student accommodation in parts of Leamington.

But the spokesman said that NO discussions had taken place between the firm and Warwick District Council over using it at Westwood Heath.
19 March 2018