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Proposed student housing development on Tesco car park

There will be a public consultation on Wednesday 25th July 2018, 3.00 pm–, in Unit 11, Cannon Park Shopping Centre (next to Jin's Cafe).

Please download the Invitation and the accompanying Explanatory Letter.
A conman who tried a bank scam on Councillor David Skinner, of neighbouring Westwood ward, was quickly rumbled.

However, Councillor Skinner is aware that others may be caught off guard and has shared his experience as a warning.

He said: "I received a call on my home telephone number from someone who knew my name and said 'this is Police Constable…. from the Metropolitan Police. We are concerned that your bank account has been tampered with.'

"I am in constant touch with our excellent West Midlands Police, but not the Metropolitan police, and recognised it at once as a scam. I asked the caller’s full name, telephone number, etc. He rang off at once and the number was withheld.

"So, yet again, the crooks never sleep. Please never drop your guard, and please tell other residents."

For the latest information on scams, go to the City Council scam alert page.
The Green Party has called for a railway station to serve Warwick University​ and take the pressure off the roads. It suggests a small halt platform off Stoneleigh Road where the Kenilworth - Coventry line passes under a bridge.

For more, go to the Warwick District Green Party web page.
For previous Stop Press articles, go to the Archives page
Westwood Heath Road
Westwood Heath Road -Bockendon Road junction near the site for the new Garden Village estate.
Planners reject road fears and approve new estate at Westwood Heath
Massive public opposition has failed to stop a local authority giving permission for the first phase of a 425-home estate at Westwood Heath.

Warwick District Council planning Committee (WDC) voted by 6 to 4, with two abstentions, to give the go-ahead to the “Garden Village.”

Although the site  comes under WDC it is on Coventry’s doorstep, between Burton Green and Warwick University, and is accessed by the notoriously congested Westwood Heath Road near its junction with Bockendon Road.

Coventry Councillor David Skinner (Tory, Westwood Heath) appealed to the WDC planning committee to reject the proposal but his plea fell on deaf ears.

In an email to his constituents, Cllr Skinner later said: “In  addition, there was mention of the 'reserved area' further towards Gibbet Hill Road where 700 more houses might possibly be built at some future point. Obviously changing Westwood Heath totally.

The various speakers made points about loss of green space affecting Burton Green and Westwood Heath, the effect of HS2, pollution and traffic.

I referred to road safety in particular and mentioned the constant speeding; the totally destroyed vehicles that I have seen in recent months; the crash in Tile Hill Village; the further crash in Station Avenue in the last few days. How the driver survived is beyond me.

I mentioned changes in Westwood Business Park; Fletchamstead Highway and Cromwell Lane, already agreed, and possible changes at Tile Hill Railway Station and Warwick University.”

Coventry City Council, which is ruled by a Labour majority, made no official objections.

Both authorities will benefit from “106 money” - sums that are paid for by the developer, in this case Crest Nicholson, in exchange for its approval.

These amounts will include.
* £560,750 towards cycle and junction improvements to the highway network in the Coventry City Council administrative boundary,
* £969,250 towards improvements to the highway network in the Warwick District Council administrative boundary;
*£21,540 towards improvements to public rights of way within a 1.5 mile radius of the development site (including e.g. upgrading stiles to gates, bridge improvements and path surface improvements);
* a contribution of £348,072 towards public open space (amount to be confirmed by the Open Space team);
* a contribution of £1,344,025 towards primary education; £1,191,075 towards secondary education; £272,760 towards Post-16 education; £58,095 towards primary special education needs; £88,200 towards secondary special education needs; £354,079 towards indoor sports facilities; £428,200 towards primary medical care; a contribution of £489,111 towards acute and community healthcare.

One of the least likely awards is a contribution of £93,771 towards skylark mitigation.
Posted 21 June 2018
Safeguard our children - petition calls on council to act over Cannon Hill Road danger spot
Cannon Hill Road crossing
A petition demanding a safe crossing for school children attending Cannon Park School has got off to a flying start.

Within hours of its launch, 100 people had already put their name to an appeal to the city council to take action to safeguard pupils having to cross Cannon Hill Road near a  sharp bend. The danger point has been without  ‘lollipop’ wardens for many years and has no pedestrian crossing, while traffic using the road to short-cut to the University of Warwick has spiralled.

Now the school leaders, parents and residents are united in calling for a permanent solution to safeguard lives. The petition going before councillors says: “We call upon the council to provide a permanent crossing across Cannon Hill Road (CHR) to enable pedestrians and children attending Cannon Park School safe passage. “We also call upon the council to implement the 20 MPH speed limit on CHR, which Coventry City Council had agreed to previously, incorporating physical traffic calming measures and a 7 tonne vehicle weight restriction.

Volunteers including parents and members of the Cannon Park Community Association are out and about knocking on doors and gathering signatures. But the petition, headed  Cannon Hill Road Speed Restriction and Safe Crossing, can be ‘signed’ online on the Coventry City Council petitions page.

The organisers are calling on residents to tell their neighbours about the petition, and by gathering hundreds of signatures force the city council to take notice. “We want the council to help make this a better and safer place for children, other pedestrians, and the residents who live along Cannon HIll Road," said one campaigner.

The demand comes as police pledge to continue community Speedwatch initiatives along the road. Last Thursday, a  Neighbourhood Police Team was out in force, stopping speeding drivers and issuing notices. See full report below.
Posted 22 May 2018
Copped! The speeding drivers bringing danger to Cannon Hill Road>
Police chat
Speeding motorists were stopped in their tracks on Thursday when a team of police officers converged on Cannon Hill Road.

Drivers recorded breaking the 30mph limit were flagged down and either given a stern warning or issued with tickets that could lead to fines, driver awareness scheme or licence endorsements.

The swoop follows a series of roadside Speedwatch initiatives,organised by the local residents and supported by our neighbourhood policing team.

Speed camera
The roadside monitoring, overseen by PC Stuart Wheeler, showed there was sufficient evidence to take enforcement action.

That began this week (May 17) when  eight officers, supported by readings from a  highly accurate speed camera, set up by the bridge on Cannon Hill Road, clocking speeds and directing offenders into Cannon Park Road where they were interviewed.

PC Wheeler said: “A number of vehicles have been stopped in regard to inappropriate speed and those that have exceeded the limit will be reported for future action.” “However, we were pleased to see that the majority of drivers today have respected the speed limit.”

He added that the Speedwatch exercises seemed to be working as there was a marked drop in the number of speeders on the road since the first initiative on March 7. But he added that the Neighbourhood Police team would be monitoring the situation in Cannon Hill Road and was prepared to mount a further Speedwatch programme.

*The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your licence. You could be disqualified from driving if you build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of 3 years.
Posted 22 May 2018
Uni decision sparks hopes that HiMO gravy train is heading for the buffers
Earlsdon house for sale
Three of the houses in Earlsdon Avenue South which are being sold by Coventry University
Coventry University is selling off nearly all the houses it owns and converted for student digs because of falling demand.

The £8m sale of 24 homes is a signal that the Houses in Multiple Occupation gravy train railroading through Coventry may be running out of steam.

A spokeswoman for the university said: “Students nowadays are looking for more modern accommodation that better suits their needs.

“We feel the time is now right to sell these houses as there is no longer so much demand for these types of properties.”

The news will be welcomed across Coventry by residents who have seen their communities eroded by “studentification.”

The hope will be that the at least some of the 24 houses being sold - in Earlsdon, Spon End and Hillfields - will be bought by families and revert back to traditional homes. Realistically, the ones with up to 10 bedrooms will probably be bought by other landlords attracted by the potential of more than £1,000 a week in rents, free of council tax or business rates

But Coventry Uni’s decision to sell indicates they will be chasing a diminishing market of customers

. Its spokeswoman added: “The property market has changed significantly in the 25 years since we bought these houses.

“We recently opened our first university-owned purpose-built accommodation for 14 years, The Cycle Works, which provides housing for about 350 students, and we are moving our focus away from housing our students in residential areas.

“The rental agreements on these homes are due to expire this summer. All students affected have been contacted about the sale of the properties, informed of their options and given support to find accommodation elsewhere, if they need it.”

In the south of Coventry, particularly around Cannon Park, the hope will be that the University of Warwick will follow suit and stop its support of HiMOs.
7 May 2018
Uni and council urged to work in tandem over cycle routes
Cyclist at A45
Campaigners for safer cycling have urged the city council to get on its bike and look at a range of suggestions to improve routes leading to Warwick University. The proposals come as the council begins preparing the ‘New Infrastructure Plan for Walking and Cycling’  and amid growing demand to reduce traffic generated by the university and other businesses.

Three suggested cycle routes have been submitted to the council with the aim of encouraging more people to cycle in safety to the uni and help ease the traffic problems. The proposed routes all leave the campus at the new roundabout on Lynchgate Road and fan out to join the existing cycle paths along the A45. The routes would cost little to construct, and need suitable signing.

One existing signposted route - from the uni to Kenilworth Road via de Montfort Way/Cannon Hill Road - is used very rarely and it’s suggested it should be discontinued.

Mike Thomas, a campaigner for safer cycling,  said the existing marked routes spreading from the campus are at best half-hearted. Previous work to widen footpaths hadn’t been carried through and can bring bike riders into conflict with pedestrians where they narrow. He points out that tens of millions of pounds will be spent on building a new road into the university from the A46 near Stoneleigh but not a penny is being earmarked for cycle routes.

He said: “The university, Westwood business park and the Shopping Centre may bring jobs but they also bring huge traffic problems. “A safe network of cycle paths spreading out from the campus could help ease that congestion, and improve the lives of students and visitors and benefit residents too. “Looking at the opportunities to get from the Lynchgate Road campus exit to the residential areas on the southern side of the city it would take very little effort and expenditure to develop three routes.

“A real difference can be made by a relatively small amount spent on widening a footpath, and optimising what we already have.” Mr Thomas, of Cannon Hill Road, is a ranger for Sustrans, a national volunteer organisation that works to improve cyclepath networks.

ROUTE 1 This route would provide access to the South-East Coventry districts of Stivichall, Cheylesmore, Finham and east Earlsdon.  The route would follow Lynchgate Road, Tesco’s car-park, Ivy Farm Lane, Cannocks Lane, Hilary Rd, Sefton Rd, Turbury Ave and onto the A45 cycle path and beyond.

ROUTE 2 This route would provide access to Canley, West Earlsdon, Chapelfields, Whoberley, Coundon and the City Centre.  The route would follow Lynchgate Road northwards, Sir Henry Parkes Road, Canley Crossing, Canley Road and onto the existing cycle path along Hearsall Lane.

ROUTE 3 This route would provide access to the West and South-West districts of Coventry including Eastern Green, Allesley, and Tile Hill.  The route would follow Lynchgate Road as Route 2 then turn westwards on the new path along Charter Ave, Moat House Lane, and then along an existing path which could be widened over Canley Brook and north-east as far as the existing A45 cycle path.
Posted 23 April 2018
Tories promise to reclaim HiMOs back for families
Tory Group
Coventry Tory Party has pledged to turn the tide of traditional family homes being converted to student lodgings if it wins control of the city council.

In its manifesto launched for the May council elections, it states: “We support the construction of more purpose-built student accommodation so that more traditional properties and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HiMOs) can be brought back into use as family homes.”

And it implies that it would adopt a planning law - known as an Article 4 Direction - to achieve its aim.

More than 60 local authorities, many neighbouring Coventry, have introduced the law, allowing them to limit the number of HiMOs in any given neighbourhood.

But Coventry’s ruling Labour group has steadfastly refused to follow suit, allowing many streets in areas of  Canley, Cannon Park, and Earlsdon to become dominated by HiMOs, to the detriment of permanent residents.

In a thinly disguised reference to Article 4, the Tory manifesto says a curb on HiMOs  “Must be backed up by a change in policy and we will also consult upon changes to planning regulations making it harder to convert family homes into student accommodation.”

In February, on this website, Labour group leader George Duggins defended his party’s stance and refuted the accusation that it put the city’s universities’ needs before residents.

He said: “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.”

This year’s local elections will take place on May 3, when a third of Coventry’s 54 councillors will defend their seats. Labour currently has 39 elected members and Tories 15.
Posted 13 April 2018
Cannon Hill speeders will now be stopped in their tracks by police
Cannon Hill road speeders
Residents backed by local police were out in force again on Thursday to record motorists endangering lives by speeding along Cannon Hill Road. Now the evidence has been gathered it is clear that enforcement action needs to take place.

There will be no more warnings. The next step is a police blitz on the speeders which will result in fines and licence penalty points for the offenders.

PC Stuart Wheeler, who led the three community Speedwatch sessions, said: “The evidence shows that the concerns of residents are justified.

“With that help of the community through the Speedwatch group we can now take the next step, which  will be enforcement.”

That will mean police officers, with more sophisticated and calibrated speed enforcement equipment now taking over the task of stopping and reporting those drivers who are recorded exceeding the 30mph limit.

Unlike the community Speedwatchers, they will be speaking to every driver contravening the speed limit On random days they will be present along Cannon Hill Road prepared to flag down and issue prosecution notices to drivers breaking the 30mph limit. PC Wheeler added that he had been impressed by the turn-out of local residents who manned the Speedwatch recording equipment and noted down number-plates of culprits.

“From the start, the team who’ve been out here have been enthusiastic and that hasn’t waned,” he said.

Cannon Park Community Association chairman Mike Parsons said it had been shocking to see how fast some motorists were driving along a relatively narrow road with a sharp bend where children had to cross to school.

He said: “Speedwatch has confirmed what people living along it have known for a long-while.

“We appreciate the work that PC Wheeler has put in and welcome police enforcement for those drivers who seem to think the few seconds they save by speeding is more valuable than people’s lives.”

The road has been designated for a 20mph limit but not implemented due to city council budget constraints. There are also growing calls from residents for a safe crossing point on Cannon Hill Road for children attending Cannon Park School, which has pedestrian access close to a sharp bend.
Posted 13 April 2018
Build first, ask permission later
143 de Montfort Way
The Cannon Park Community Association is awaiting a planning decision on 143 De Montfort Way with keen interest.

Work on a garage conversion for an extra two bedrooms (bringing the total up to seven) with alterations to front and back windows has been carried out without planning approval.  The owner is now applying for retrospective permission.

While building first and asking for approval later is a breach of regulations it is not an offence. However the council can refuse permission and insist the property is returned to its original state.

Plans now before the council describe the new outer wall alterations as being of "matching textured coloured brick". Our picture shows just how close a match this in fact is. Reference number of application is HH/2018/0542.

*Cannon Hill residents have another chance to object to the conversion of a two-bedroom bungalow into a five-bedroom rental, probably for students. Last year, residents' outrage at proposals to convert the property at 6 Merynton Avenue to a 10-bedroom house of multi occupation forced a rethink by the owners.  A 120-name petition and the backing of the local councillor led to the withdrawal of that plan.

Subsequently, a plan was put forward for a five-bed home (extending the back for two bedrooms and a loft conversion for a three). This was approved, despite more residents' objections. But no work has yet taken place.

Now a further plan has been forwarded to modify the roof (but still only five en-suite bedrooms, as previously approved).

The new application gives neighbours and local residents an opportunity to make their objections again.

Foremost among them will be that it is out of character with the area, neighbouring, as it does six smaller bungalows, purpose-built by the council itself, for pensioners with mobility problems who need and deserve a quieter environment and easy access to their homes.

There are also genuine concerns for road safety and parking with the prospect of a further five cars using a narrow residential road.

Follow the guidance on the Planning page to view the plans. Make your comments to council planners before April 18.
The reference number is  HH/2018/0436
Posted 3 April 2018
Coventry heritage watchdog urges limits on HiMOs

THE Coventry Society, a committed group of people who fight to retain and improve the city's historical buildings, has released its annual report.

Coventry Society
It's well worth a read to see how much it has done to preserve what we have and what we have lost.

The Society has long recognised a need for an Article 4 Direction - a planning law which would allow the council to limit the number of Houses in Multiple Occupation. It recognises that the present policies, or lack of,  are irrevocably damaging swathes of what were once family neighbourhoods. Here is what the Society has to say in its annual report:
"The thorny matter of Houses in Multiple Occupation has dragged on for years.

"More and more streets are seeing radical changes from family occupation to students’ flats. We still consider that the Council should introduce a policy to limit the conversion of property in this way.

"Many towns and cities around the country have taken measures to help control this situation.

Despite lobbying by Paul Maddocks there seems little hope of change.

"In our view the building of high rise flats in the city centre will hardly resolve this longstanding problem."

The Society is not a talking shop for nimbys, but a dedicated group of people. Many highly qualified and with a deep understanding of the city's history and how local planning has the power to nurture or annihilate.

The obvious question is: why isn't the council listening?

View the Society's April Newsletter
Posted 3 April 2018
Uni drives need for speed and parking clampdowns
Campus road
Motorists speeding along Cannon Hill Road were given another reminder on Monday that their dangerous behaviour won't be tolerated.

Local residents, backed by Neighbourhood Police, manned a Speedwatch camera and recording equipment near the bridge, clocking more than 17 law-breakers in just one hour.

They can expect a letter from police over the next few days.

The event, organised by Cannon Park Community Association and PC Stuart Wheeler, based at Canley Police Station, is the second in a series aimed at educating the anti-social drivers to put the brakes on or pay the price.

If they continue to ignore the warnings, they will be prosecuted.

The road has become a popular short cut for University of Warwick commuters as it links Kenilworth Road and Charter Avenue. But in design it is still basically an old country lane, with adverse cambers and a sharp bend. Many children have to cross at the bend to get to Cannon Park Primary. Farther along there is a concealed entrance to Canley Cemetery.

Proposals for a 20 mph speed limit have been accepted in principle by the city council but not implemented because of financial constraints By contrast, a 20 mph zone has been imposed on Gibbet Hill Road where it passes through the uni campus (pictured), providing students a safer crossing than the Cannon Park youngsters trying to get to school.

The city council has acted quickly to thwart uni students and staff parking free on the grass verges of Kenilworth Road, by painting yellow lines along a mile stretch.  This will allow the city council enforcement agencies to issue tickets.   But it may serve also to push the problem along to surrounding roads in Cannon Hill, Westwood Heath and Canley, where grass verge parking is already common-place. Some residents had argued that if the city council had shown a tougher stance by prosecuting the problem parkers for damaging public property - ie. churning up the verges - it might have saved itself a lot of paint and sent a message that it wouldn't be tolerated anywhere in the area. Or the rest of Coventry for that matter.

*Work on preparing the way for the high-speed rail (HS2) link from Birmingham to London will slow-up car journeys to Kenilworth in the coming week.

Enabling works will involve a short lane closure along part of Kenilworth Road and Coventry Road on April 3 and 4.  Controlled temporary traffic restrictions using portable traffic signals will be in place on each day from 9.30 am, with restrictions lifted and the road fully re-opened by 3.30 pm on each afternoon.  *There  will also be a short lane closure at the junction of Hob Lane, Cromwell Lane and Red Lane on April 4, 5and 6.

Controlled temporary traffic restrictions using portable traffic signals will be in place from 9.30 am, with restrictions lifted and the road fully re-opened by 3.30 pmon each afternoon.

*There will be a full road closure along Crackley Lane between Cryfield Grange Road and Blind Lane on April 5 and 6 A full road closure will be in place on each day from 9.30 am, with restrictions lifted and the road fully reopened by 3.30 pm on each afternoon.

For more information, consult the HS2 web site
Posted 2 April 2018 
Written and produced by and for the residents of Cannon Park/Cannon Hill and neighbouring areas. Your contributions are welcomed.
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Editorial Comment

Biomedical research building
Time to start thinking outside your own box, Warwick University.

Warwick University chiefs were left in no doubt that their campus expansion plans, revealed this week, will face fierce opposition from local residents. The message from Cannon Park Community Association, given after viewing proposals for nine major projects, including new faculty buildings, was clear: “Think again, Warwick Uni. And this time address the damage you are causing to the environment and its community.”

The CPCA representatives left a briefing session with the overriding view that once again the university has put its own profit and prestige first and foremost and paid scant regard for its neighbours’ quality of life. Most obviously, failing to recognise that its insistence on funneling everything on to a single campus - crammed between suburbia and a narrow strip of green belt - is having devastating consequences particularly on the roads and family housing stock.

The nIne projects, to be built over the next three years, will go before Coventry City Council to consider for planning approval in the next few weeks. As part of a “hearts and minds”  briefing exercise for the public, the university staged a “drop in” consultation day for residents and community groups. In the CPCA’s view the proposed developments will lead to a significant increase in staff and student numbers, cause further traffic chaos and escalate  the erosion of housing stock available to local families.

In a nutshell, a snowballing of the problems that have been draining the life blood out of the surrounding community for years. The CPCA believes the university’s suggested remedies are akin to offering a sticking plaster to stem a haemorrhage. Its proposed increase of 1000 student flats on campus is woefully short of accommodation needed. Ten times that amount might halt the march of Houses of Multi Occupation turning areas like Canley into university dormitories.

But the bigger disappointment is the university’s failure to address the root causes of the huge traffic problems it generates. And that is trying to force a quart into a pint pot. There are simply too many cars going into too small a  space. Improving an access road here and there will simply allow the snarl ups to form more quickly at the major junctions.

The CPCA representatives looked in vain for proposals for major park and ride initiatives that could cut traffic coming in to the area. It saw no plans either for the much talked about relief road coming off the A46 to access the uni south of Gibbet Hill.
No strategy either for exploiting transport links offered by the newly-opened Kenilworth Station. And little more than lip-service paid to developing credible cycle routes. True, there was a pledge of support from the university for improving safety on Cannon Hill Road;  hopes were expressed that an agreed new interchange at the A46 bypass would ease congestion along Stoneleigh Road, and a firm pledge from the University’s planners that they had no intention of seeking to annexe Gibbet Hill Road. Under the proposals  there will be an increase to 5,422 parking spaces on campus. Although it was admitted that is something of double-edged sword as it would encourage more uni staff to use their cars.

In summary, there was no thinking outside the box to make a real improvement to the lives of the university’s neighbours. That box being the one labelled University of Warwick: Self Interest.

See the full proposals by logging on to the campus developments web page.

What they say:
“The damage has already been done, and in my opinion they should be addressing and resolving the existing issues before developing/extending and creating yet more traffic/construction traffic/parking misery etc., for local residents. The road infrastructure must be in place before they are permitted to create even more chaos in the surrounding area, as our roads cannot take any more.” - Cannon Hill Road resident.

“New buildings are and will continue to be a part of our everyday existence. We need to open one new academic building a year from now until at least 2023. We need new student accommodation; a new sports centre; a redeveloped Arts Centre. In order to do this and to keep Warwick as one of the world’s leading universities, we need to do this together, involving the whole community.” - Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor, University of Warwick.
25 May 2018