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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

April 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.
Cyclists


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, 5 and 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 
Uni parkers will be given their ticket for parking on the Kenilworth Road
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."

March 2018
Residents and local police join forces to put the brakes on speeders
Speedwatch
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

February 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.
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 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.”

January 2018
Loyal café customers serve Jin the tonic to stay
Jin's café
Jin Bal (third from right) and her staff together with delighted customers celebrating the good news.
JIN’S Café Express has been given a new lease of life thanks to the loyal support of customers.

Fans of the Cannon Park Shopping Centre cafe were outraged when they were told it was closing.

Owner Jin Bal was resigned to serving her last bacon butty in mid-February. But she hadn’t counted on the fantastic reaction from customers - students and pensioners alike- who bombarded the landlords with complaints. Some even said they’d never set foot in the centre again if Jin’s left.

And this week the campaign paid off. The centre’s new owners told her there had been a change of heart and they didn’t want her to leave. Jin was delighted with the news and says she feels overwhelmed by the customers’ support. She said: "It's been a roller coaster week but I am delighted to confirm that Cannon Park Centre has invited Jin's Café to stay on! “I would like to say a big 'thank you' to all our supporters. There have been so many truly fabulous comments on Facebook and on a petition.

“So many people have written and campaigned on our behalf.”

Overjoyed customers at the cafe on Saturday celebrated by tucking into budget-priced favourites like bangers ‘n’ mash, full English breakfasts and jacket potatoes - dishes that the business has built its reputation on.

Jean and Norman Russell, of Mount Nod, are regulars. Jean said; “We come because of the choice of food and the community feeling. Everyone is so friendly and the service is excellent.

“Jin has always got a smile on her face. If we had a son at Warwick University we would be happy if he came here to eat. It’s welcoming and inexpensive.”

Anne Curry, of Chapelfields, said: “I usually come here with an elderly gentleman, an old friend. This is our meeting place. We have bacon sandwiches and coffee for less than a fiver. The staff know us and have it ready for us before we are halfway up the aisle! “I am delighted they are staying.”

Diane and Gilbert Tolley, of Canley, wouldn’t miss their regular visit to Jin’s, even though former grocer Gilbert is not as sprightly as he once was. Diane led the protests when she heard Jin’s was due to close and started a petition, which now has more than 700 signatures, all collected in one week. She fired off letters to the centre’s landlords and called on local councillors to step in.

She said: “My husband is 98 and this is a lovely place for meeting and we talk to everybody. It’s a place for all the community. We must not lose it.” A spokesman for the centre confirmed that Tesco had sold the site, which includes the car parks, to ES Coventry Ltd in August.

29/1/2018
January 18: Tree blown down on Kenilworth Road
Fallen tree
At about 6am, two cars travelling in opposite directions smashed into the fallen boughs, but both drivers are understood to have escaped serious injury.

The driver of the Ford (pictured) was understood to be a 60-year-old man. The other car was a BMW driven by a woman.
Damaged car
Police sealed off the road for several hours from its junction with the A45 to the island at Gibbet Hill while contractors for Coventry City Council cleared the tree.

Surprisingly, the old tree wasn’t diseased. The whole tree toppled, lifting a root ball, estimated at five tonnes, out of public woodland a few feet away from the path and cycle lane.
New neighbourhood bobby says teamwork is top of his Bill
PC Wheeler
PC Stuart Wheeler
NEW bobby on the block Stuart Wheeler believes community teamwork guided by the police is a winning formula for building safer neighbourhoods.

PC Wheeler, who's recently joined the neighbourhood police team looking after the Cannon Park/Cannon Hill area, should know. He's Coventry born and raised and has spent 25 years in the force, largely based at Canley Station (formerly Fletchamstead).

The first six years were spent in the front line, driving police response cars across the south of Coventry, before moving into the specialised roles of road policing, dealing with accidents and vehicle inspections.

He switched to community policing with a posting to Sherbourne and Bablake wards which stretches from inner city Spon End to the edges of Coventry at Allesley. The father of three grown-up children says he was delighted when his request to transfer to the team covering Wainbody (which includes Cannon Park/Hill) Woodlands and Westwood was granted.

The unit, headed by Sgt Amy Wright, consists of five constables and five community support officers. Pc Wheeler, having been based at the "The Fletch" police station for many years, knows the patch very well. "Community policing is very different to what I was used to do when I first joined the force," he said. "It's a team effort where we have like-minded residents coming and joining us to build an accurate picture of what's going on and deciding what can be done."

He is well aware of the changing social mix of the area brought about by the growth of Warwick University. While not commenting on the political policies behind that shift, he acknowledges there has been a significant impact on policing. By working in partnership with all parties, neighbourhood police aim to address local issues such as localised crime, traffic and parking.

A good example of how residents and the police can work together to stamp out speeding is through the Community Speedwatch scheme, he said. Backed by the city council, which loans equipment, residents are able to accompany an officer at the roadside to monitor traffic, and record speeders. The cars aren't stopped so there is no confrontation but the drivers do get a warning letter from the police.

If there is a significant number, the police will return alone with more specialised equipment and the speedsters can expect to be stopped and prosecuted. Motorists who leave their cars outside residents’ homes all day pose a trickier problem. If they are obstructing the highway or causing a hazard, they can be reported to the police.

Parking on grass verges and churning up the ground is more a matter for the city council as it has to maintain and repair the verges.

*You can contact the Neighbourhood police team by e-mail

The team can be contacted via the police non-emergency number. Telephone 101 and ask the operator to put you through to Canley Police Station.

The West Midlands force has also launched WMNOW, an online service with live police updates from your area, including details of incidents, crime prevention advice, events and appeals for information. It’s free to sign up to and you can register according to your interests and where you live and work. Go to the WMNOW web site to sign up and start getting updates.
Road block delayed after residents’ protests finally heard.
Fr Harry Curtis and Mike Parsons
Fr Harry Curtis and
CPCA Chairman
Mike Parsons.
The closure of a vital section of access road to Cannon Park homes and St Joseph’s church in the run-up to Christmas was been postponed after a wave of protest.

Contractors building a student accommodation block at the junction of Shultern Lane and De Montfort Way intended blocking off the stretch from December 9-24 in order to lay sewage pipes.

But residents and community leaders raised such a stink when they got wind of it they were forced into delaying the plan. Anger was fuelled by the revelation that the work had first been scheduled for October but was put off because Warwick University chiefs had objected as it would coincide with the start of the new academic year.

But neither the city council nor the contractors thought of consulting with residents or the church about carrying out the work in the run up to Christmas. The section of road is one of only two routes into the estate and is the main access for the church, Lynchgate Court, bus services and rear carparks for the shopping centre.

John Blundell
Councillor John Blundell
Mike Parsons, chairman of Cannon Park Community Association, led the protests with the backing of ward councillor John Blundell and Father Harry Curtis. Mr Parsons said: “Following our intervention, the planners were persuaded to postpone the work until January 2. “I wish to thank John Blundell for his quick response in averting the chaos that the closure would have created.” Fr Harry Curtis, of St Joseph’s, was delighted with the news: "On behalf of myself and all the congregation, thanks to Mike and everyone who did so much to change the dates of this proposed work.

“I still find myself bemused by the process (or lack of it) that managed to decide that closing a major access to a Christian Church in the lead up to, and possibly over, Christmas was a sensible option.”

Cllr Blundell pledged to press for answers from council officers about the lack of consultation with residents and St Joseph's.
Progress with uni in crunch talks over 'demise of our community.'
Rosie Drinkwater
Rosie Drinkwater


On December 8 2017, Cannon Park Community Association representatives met with Rosie Drinkwater, Group Finance Director, at the University of Warwick, and two of her colleagues.

Together with our three ward councillors in support we expressed the very serious concerns of Cannon Park residents of the potential demise of our community as a result of the uncontrolled and accelerated increase in houses being acquired for student accommodation (HMOS).

Unlike previous meetings, this was the first time that we felt the University of Warwick has finally acknowledged that urgent action now needs to be taken to mitigate the problem.

Positive ideas were proposed, some of which have never been suggested before. We will therefore keep you fully informed of future action.
Uni commuters called to church carpark for ‘Let us pay’ service
Revd David Hammond
Revd David Hammond
Enterprising vicar David Hammond is hoping he’s have found a way to convert a problem into a profit.

He is offering weekday parking places at St John The Baptist Church to Warwick University visitors for £1.50 a day.

The move is expected to be welcomed by local residents.

Commuters, unwilling to pay £4.50 a day campus parking charges, have become a thorn in the side of those living around the university, especially on Westwood Heath Road, Charter Avenue and Cannon Hill Road

The money raised will go into general church funds for the running and upkeep of the Westwood Heath Road church, where Rev Hammond has been priest-in-charge for nearly three years

St John's Church car park
St John's Church and car park
His hope is that the scheme will ease the problems created by university visitors parking on the roadside and verges and also raise funds for the church, which dates back to 1846.

Church visitors and worshippers will still enjoy free parking and there will be marked bays set aside for their use. “It will still be free for those using the church, attending special events or those visiting a graves,” he added. Should the need arise, for a heavily attended funeral service, for instance, St John’s has the right to cancel - with two days’ notice - paid-for parking to ensure there is sufficient free parking space.

The paid-for scheme offers parking for more than 50 cars, and costs £32.50 a month per vehicle. The bookings are being handled online by YourParkingSpace. Their website describes it as “A church car park, very near to Warwick university.10 minutes walk.(The church) uses the car park on Sundays fully, and for events during the week, but outside of this parking is available. The spaces can be accessed 24 hours a day, Mon - Fri.”

*If you have a persistent uni parker causing a problem in your street why not politely advise them of this alternative?
Meeting urged to stop the ‘juggernaut’ that is destroying communities
Lichen Green
Lichen Green, Cannon Park already has three houses used for student accommodation.
The CPCA fears that three further houses in the row, recently sold will be used for the same purpose.

More than 170 residents turned out on bitterly cold late November night to voice their concerns about the “studentification” of Cannon Park. They were answering a rallying call to stop the community being eroded by the increasing number of traditional family homes being converted to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HiMO).

Mike Parsons, chairman of the Cannon Park Community Association (CPCA), summed up the exasperation of the residents gathered at St Joseph’s Church when he declared “enough is enough.”

He said residents were not anti-students, on the whole most behaved well, but the weight of numbers was having a devastating effect. Very few families with young children lived on the estate now, which has serious implications for the school, whose land would be a major attraction to developers. Many elderly people who’d lived on the estate most of their lives now felt isolated surrounded by student neighbours, he added. The demand for accommodation for Warwick Uni Students and huge profits to be made was attracting Chinese companies and offshore international investors who were now buying up large houses and putting in up to 10 bedrooms.

Absent landlords were criticised for the poor upkeep of their properties, particularly refuse disposal, failure to mow the lawn for months, and building maintenance.

The CPCA carried out its own survey in the Cannon Park/Cannon Hill area found that 169 out 809 properties were now student accommodation. Because of the high occupancy, that equated to an estimated 819 students and 1271 permanent residents . Guest speaker Meg Bond from the South Leamington Area Residents group told how her area had suffered “studentification” and pointed the finger at Warwick Uni as the driver of the “juggernaut” that was destroying communities.

After years of campaigning her local council had finally agreed to adopt an Article 4 Direction which allows it to limit the number of HiMOs in a neighbourhood.

But the action had come too late, the area was already swamped with student accommodation. She urged Cannon Park residents not to let the same thing happen. Article 4 can be introduced by any local authority but the Coventry city council has steadfastly refused to consider it. *Following the meeting 160 people signing a petition calling on the council to appoint a task force to investigate the problems and to take measures to ensure no further residential properties are lost to student accomodation. It was submitted on the December 5, by ward councillor Tim Sawdon and the CPCA has received confirmation of its validation.
Police launch campaign against problem parkers
Bad parking 1
Grass verge being destroyed near the Merynton Avenue/Cannon Hill Road junction by all-day parkers from the university
University staff and students who use residential streets as all-day car parks rather than pay campus parking fees are a growing problem in the Cannon Hill area.

But those who leave their cars in a dangerous or inconsiderate spot now risk a ticket from police in a campaign launched by the West MIdlands Force. The purge on problem parkers has already started in Birmingham. Now the aim is to train neighbourhood police teams across the West Midlands so they can run ‘dangerous parking operations’ themselves.

A force spokesman said: “This operation is in direct response to members of the public who are fed up with selfish drivers, those who want to save time or money and park hazardously, and have contacted their local authority or police team.”

It an offence to leave a vehicle on a road in a position that causes a danger to other road users. Officers are on the lookout for vehicles ramped up onto pavements, causing traffic obstructions or parked hazardously at junctions. Offenders face penalty points on their licence and fines of up to £1,000.

Bad parking 2
Car totally blocking a public footpath in De Montfort Way
Unfortunately, it isn’t considered an offence if cars are partially parked on green verges, the source of many complaints from residents in Cannon Hill Road-Merynton Avenue-Kenilworth Road areas.

The city council, which has to maintain the ploughed-up verges, won’t take action either unless there are “enforceable” parking restrictions in place, that is yellow lines and residents’ parking schem

+For police, call the non-emergency number (101) to report dangerously parked cars. + For advice on the City council’s role, call Parking Services 02476 834367.

Helen May
Helen May
The University’s response: Helen May, Community Partnerships Officer, said: “We do advise our staff and students not to park in local roads, and we also work hard to enable and promote alternative forms of transport to the University.

Obviously we have no control on parking regulation in this area – but we are working closely with local police and the Council to assist them in applying enforcement of any current or new regulations covering such parking. I do hope that these efforts will deliver some change very soon. Do contact our local police to report specific instances of obstruction. I’ll also share your comments with the colleagues here who liaise with Coventry City Council and the police on this.”
PREVIOUS STOP PRESS ARTICLES
April - September 2018
Follow-up on the proposed Cannon Park car park redevelopment
On the 22nd August, members of the Association’s committee met with the project team of McAleer and Rushe to discuss the proposed building to accommodate 850 students.

On the adjacent Cannon Park estate, at least 40% of the residential properties are HiMOS, and this approximates to about 450 “family home” residents and 800-900 students. With the proposed build housing 850 students, plus the new 50 student build in Shultern Lane, there will be further and significant demographic shift in residential areas adjacent to the University of Warwick.

Spinney
The consideration that this proposed development will reduce the pressure on further conversion of family homes to HiMOs is unlikely to arise, as university student numbers will no doubt continue increasing. What is required is for the University of Warwick to plan and build student accommodation on-site that keeps up with, and fulfils, that demand.

Consisting of an accommodation block up to 6 storeys, and a multi-storey car park to 7 levels to the same height, the proposed structure is certainly imposing. This is particularly so in relation to St Joseph the Worker Church, the Cemetery and the houses in Squires Way, and is totally out of keeping with the residential nature of the whole of Cannon Park estate.

The Spinney and Shultern Lane
Shultern Lane is a continuation of Ivy Farm lane (dating back to Anglo Saxon times) which is a Conservation Area. Trees in the ancient hedgerows on either side of the lane are protected.

Shultern Lane
Although it has not been well maintained, the Council-owned Spinney, such a prominent feature within this car park, is a remarkable natural habitat. It has 20 native tree species, which is a high count for a small woodland. There are some large mature trees on the proposed car park side of the Spinney (lime and oak) and many semi mature oaks around the perimeter that should be protected from any building work and require adequate space because they will grow into very large trees over the next 50 years. The Spinney hosts a large number of birds and insects and a badger lives very locally. The Spinney and Shultern Lane form an important green wildlife corridor linking local green spaces. Councils have a duty to protect biodiversity, and here much was lost during recent work to extend Canley Cemetery.

The proposed layout plans of the build show that there is a significant reduction in the size of the current Spinney, as indicated by the number of trees drawn on the plans. Any reduction in the current area of the Spinney and consequent loss of so many valuable trees in this important natural environment should be considered unacceptable.

It is very worthwhile to refer to the following document on the Council website: TREES & DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES FOR COVENTRY; Supplementary Planning Document, July 2018. This draft document was originally submitted in 2016, and contained a short statement about tree protection, but was rejected by Government as being inadequate. Although still awaiting implementation, this document provides much greater protection for our city’s trees when building development is taking place. It includes statements on the importance of retaining trees and their value in every setting.

Of particular relevance is Planning for Trees Pre-development (Pages 15,16, 17 and the Tree Constraints Plan Page 18. In addition, the Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees, page 19, shows how a CAVAT system can be used to assess the monetary value of a tree. Design Criteria on pages 20 and 21 under General Expectations includes ‘making adequate provision for the long-term retention of trees, groups of trees or areas of woodland’. This document is a worthwhile read, and underlines the importance of trees, and how they should be protected.

The following quotes in the introduction to this Council document are a reminder of the impact of trees, and any loss in the size of the Spinney and its magnificent trees are reflected here:

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way” Letter to Revd. Dr. Trusler; William Blake, 1799

Shultern Lane
“There is little in the architecture of a city that is more beautifully designed than a tree.” Jaime Lerner, Architect and Urban Planner – Mayor of Curitiba (1971-1974, 1979-1983, 1989-1992) [Curitiba is a modern city in Brazil].

Accurate drawings of the proposed reduction in the size of the Spinney, in conjunction with an assessment of the quality of trees and their value, need to be done and made available to the public, in order that the true situation can be fully assessed to maximise protection.

The discussion process
The main area of discussion centred on the significant negative impact of the proposed build on the current Spinney, as outlined above, and its imposing nature on adjacent areas such as the Church, and Squires Way houses. In addition, a concentration of 850 students will make the area seem as part of the campus.

Other issues covered included security, refuse collection, road safety and traffic. Dating back to proposals made in 2007, discussion concerning a one-way traffic system around the Cannon Park Shopping Centre itself took place. Although it would create some layout issues within the car park area, a clockwise flow of traffic, with swapping of the current entrance/exit, would negate the need for a proposed roundabout at the junction of de Montfort and Lynchgate Roads.

Points arising from the meeting
Following the consultation forum on the 25th July and comments received by McAleer and Rushe and CPCA, and at this meeting, the following outcomes were tabled by the McAleer and Rushe project team:

* A proposal to reduce student accommodation numbers from 850 to 800.
* This will enable the building footprint to be modified, with increased landscaping, including the space adjacent to what will remain of the current Spinney; modified plans will be produced to reflect these changes.
* On the Church side, the single row of student accommodation that immediately overlooks the Church will be reduced to 2 storeys. (This then steps up to 5 storeys at the Shultern Lane end of that side).
* To consider decreasing the number of student parking spaces, e.g. from 100 to 80, which would allow more tree planting/landscaping on the Squires Way side. * A cycle lane on Squires Way side of the complex.
* To review the reconfiguration of the road system to one way around the Shopping Centre.

In conclusion……. There can be no objections to this site being developed, providing existing green space is untouched and any building is appropriate for the area, both in terms of its size and the number of residents; it must also be a suitable distance from the Spinney and the ancient hedgerows.

The appropriateness of the proposed build is exemplified by its imposing proximity to the Church. This underlines the sensitivities required for the Church, including the restriction of natural light that will result, and the amount of noise that will be generated. (For example, on the ground floor next to the room for 100 bicycles is the storage facility for 19 1,100L refuse bins; both with entrances facing the Church). The sensitivities that are required for the Cemetery must be clearly considered as well.

The essential question remains as to why such an imposing building is necessary to accommodate Warwick University students so close to the campus, when the University has so much land of its own, and is putting up other new buildings there year on year?
Posted 3 September 2018
Drive to beat burglars in Coventry
Burglar
Coventry police are urging the public to secure their homes and cars as the force steps up efforts to beat the burglars.

Patrols have been increased around the city following a seasonal spike in burglaries - where car keys have been a particular target.

There have been more than 400 reports of burglaries or attempted burglaries since June with just over 80 vehicles stolen.

There have already been 30 arrests in connection with burglaries during the last two-and-a-half months - with 11 charges – as the force strives to tackle thieves.

But a concentrated effort is being made to combat the crime trend with additional officers in hotspots areas such as Henley, Stoke and Wyken to offer crime prevention advice and reassurance.

They will be delivering postcards to households with advice against being a target for burglars which includes ensuring windows and doors are secure. Chief Inspector Hasson Shigdar, from Coventry Police, said: “We understand how upsetting it is to be a victim of burglary, the thought of a stranger in your own home can feel like a violation of your own privacy.

“We have had a lot of warm weather but it is crucial people make sure their windows and doors are locked when they leave their home.

“A particular target has been car keys and it is important that these are not on kept within easy view as it will only make you vulnerable to criminals.

“We have made some significant arrests already and we will continue to target those we suspect of being involved in burglaries.”

Tips to beat the burglar include:
*Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, and that includes when you're just out in the garden or out for a short period of time *Double check doors and windows are locked before you go to bed, and don’t assume someone in the family has already done this
*Keep all windows closed and locked when you are not in, not just those accessible from flat roofs
*Secure items in your garden that could be used to access your home; such as sheds, ladders and tools

Drivers can also protect their car or van with an approved security device that will help to put off thieves.

There are a variety of Thatcham approved security products such as steering locks that can help keep your car of van out of the hands of criminals.

For more car crime prevention tips visit the West Midlands Police Crime Prevenetion web page.
Posted 20 August 2018
Warwick University Hybrid Planning Application 2018
Warwick University Hybrid Planning Application 2018
The CPCA has submitted to Coventry City Council a document setting out its views on the above.
View the submission
Proposed deveopment on Tesco car park
On 25th July, representatives of McAleer and Rushe held a consultation event at Cannon Park Shopping Centre for the proposed redevelopment of the 480 space car park between de Montfort Road and Shultern Lane. The Community Association Committee met on 1st August to discuss key aspects of this.

The proposal is for a residence accommodating 850 students to be built on the car park. This building will range up to 6 levels. The current parking spaces, of which 240 are allocated to JLR staff, will be replaced with 100 spaces on the east (Squires Way) side for students, and 300 spaces in a 6 level multi-storey facility on the west (St Joseph the Worker Church) side for the public. Certain areas next to, and within the residence, are to be landscaped, including a section of the Spinney, which borders Shultern Lane; however it is estimated that the Spinney will be reduced in area by over 80% in the redevelopment.

Concerns being expressed centre on the proposed redevelopment changing the whole character of the adjacent suburban residential areas, as well as the tranquil sense of the Church and the Cemetery. Buildings of 6 levels are completely out of keeping with the nature of the area and are really suitable for a city centre location or the campus. This development is essentially an extension of the University of Warwick, but without being managed by it.

The Association proposes to submit a petition to Coventry City Council opposing this redevelopment. In order to do that, your views on the redevelopment would be very useful to have first; these can be sent to info@cannonpark.org

Once this information is reviewed, the petition will be registered. If you are then able to be a “signature collector” for your street(s), could you please indicate that in your reply; that would be very helpful. Thank you!
January - March 2018
Fraudsters
Elderly woman
POLICE and trading standards officers are warning people to be on the alert for fraudsters ​targeting ​the ​elderly and vulnerable, trying to trick them into giving their bank account details​ over the phone​. The scammers have been targeting people in Holbrooks ​- even sending a courier to the victim's house to collect bank cards -​but the same ​con could be used anywhere in the city.

See more on the West Midlands Police Courier and Telephone Scam web page.
Action Counters Terrorism
West Midlands Police are backing a national campaign to encourage communities to help defeat terrorism.

The ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) campaign encourages ordinary members of the public to help tackle terrorism and save lives by reporting any suspicious behaviour and activity they may notice.

The campaign website has a list of signs to look out for, highlighting different attack planning methods that terrorists might use so you know some of the warning signs to spot, and how to report your concerns.

Go to YouTube to view the latest ACT film.

Follow the Counter Terrorism Policing on social media to stay updated on the campaign:

You can also follow our own regional terrorism police here on Facebook.
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.
Coventry police chief wants to hear your views
Mike O'Hara
The Chief Superintendent of Coventry police, Mike O'Hara  wants to hear your views on the proposed closure of Canley Police Station. (See previous story [below] about  Canley police station being earmarked for closure).

It's part of the promised public consultation which could see three stations in the city and a further 21 across the region sold off to save £5million. A press statement the West Midlands Police Crime Commissioner says many of the buildings across the region have unused space and are extremely costly to run.  "The organisation has made great strides in making it easier for officers and Police Staff to work more agilely and to reduce the time frontline officers spend returning to stations to complete administrative tasks. Over the coming decades this technology is only anticipated to become more sophisticated and effective, so the strategy is to create a building infrastructure more suitable for modern and future policing."

The physical reality of these proposals are that some Police buildings in Coventry  will close. None of these sites are open to the public currently and these plans will not affect the number of officers available to patrol and respond in order to keep the community safe. If anything the reduction in estate and the related efficiency savings will potentially lead to long term investment in frontline officer numbers.

The Police stations that are intended to be closed include: Willenhall, Canley, Foleshlli.

 Coventry Central will be retained on Little Park Street, but the current structure will be re-built on half the size of the current site. There will also be enhancements made to the premises used by Police in the Bell Green area.

The public is urged to send an e-mail to the police with their comments. The feedback will be collated and brought to the attention of the Strategic Policing and Crime Board meeting in March 2018. At this stage no decision has been made on the order of development. It is likely the programme would start in the Autumn of 2018.
New mobile team to combat fly-tipping
Fly tipping
With levels of fly-tipping spiralling in some parts of the city, councillors have supported a plan to increase street cleansing teams.

The council  is giving £107,000 to fund an extra mobile fly-tipping team along with two extra street cleaning barrows.

The one-off funding of £107,000 will be used for more street cleansing and to target the increase in fly-tipping particularly in Foleshill and the Hillfields areas of the city, which accounts for 80 percent of incidents.

Thankfully the Cannon Park area doesn’t suffer from persistent fly-tipping although nearby Canley Ford is a frequent target for dumped building waste. The extra funding will pay for two barrows and a mobile fly-tipping team that will include staff and a flatbed lorry.

Last year the Council prosecuted 35 people for fly-tipping.

Fly-tipping is an offence and the fly-tipping of controlled waste is a serious criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £50,000 (unlimited if dealt with at Crown Court) or an offender may face a prison sentence.

There are 15 cases currently going through the judicial system this year. The council is also calling on the public to be vigilant.
22 February 2018
November 2018
3 November 2018 Editorial
Road sign
Why the Uni’s plans will land us all in a jam

On November 15, Coventry’s Planning Committee will consider an application by Warwick University for a major expansion plan covering the next 10 years

The Cannon Park Community Association (CPCA) has no strong objection to additional buildings, although it notes that only one of the nine projects is for campus accommodation, falling far short of what’s needed to stem the tide of “studentification” eroding family housing stock.

But even more alarming is the proposal to add 1030 further campus car parking spaces from early 2019.

Or put another way, more than a 1000 more cars a day will be funnelled through an area which is already hopelessly congested and increasingly dangerous.

The concerns for the local area and the implications for most of south Coventry have been made to the uni by CPCA, residents and councillors, but have been largely ignored. It is true that the uni has (as can be read elsewhere on this site) offered to pay for traffic calming measures in the Cannon Hill Road area.

That’s been given an enthusiastic welcome by residents and is a strong sign that the uni is at long last acknowledging it doesn’t exist in a bubble.

Traffic
But it should not blind us to the bigger picture. Slowing down traffic along one road while proposing to encourage 1,000+ more cars a day to join the jam is not a solution.

*Where are the ideas for major park and ride initiatives that could cut traffic coming in to the area (the uni manages to operate just such an initiative from Stoneleigh Park when it has an open day for intending students and families)?

*What progress is there on the much talked about relief road coming off the A46 to access the uni south of Gibbet Hill ?

*Why is there no plan for exploiting transport links offered by the newly-opened Kenilworth rail station, as proposed by the Green Party. And why is little more than lip-service paid to developing credible cycle routes.

*And most crucially, why has the uni’s car-share initiative failed so dismally when other universities have achieved outstanding results? The uni’s own traffic experts have confirmed that all major road junctions in the locality are at, or over, capacity. Saturated to the point of mass congestion at times.

This is not news to local residents who struggle to get to and from their homes especially at peak times.

Some 67 percent of Warwick University’s current traffic are single occupancy cars and has been so for the past ten years. This is a luxury for staff but is a burden for residents.

Other leading universities around the country, starting from the same figure, have reduced their single occupancy staff cars to 30 and 35 percent using effective staff car-share schemes. Warwick University has been asked how many of its 6300 staff (nearly half of whom live outside Coventry, particularly in the Warwick/Leamington area) car-share, but have declined to reply. It appears most staff regularly decline to participate.

If Warwick did manage car-sharing as effectively as other universities it would need 2000 fewer car parking spaces now and not 1030 more. This could mean a difference of 6000 fewer car journeys on our local roads each weekday. Imagine the difference that would make not just to residents of surrounding roads but to major feeder roads like the A45, A46, Kenilworth and Stoneleigh Roads.

Sadly, the Council’s track record where the university is concerned suggests it will give it the green light to increase the traffic burden and approve the plans. But maybe not if enough people object. Resident-power achieved a small victory in getting agreement for traffic calming in Cannon Hill Road. Now we need to shout even louder to get the council to show the red light.

*You could also show the strength of opposition by attending the planning meeting, which is being held at the Council House, at 2pm on November 15. Members of the Cannon Park Community Association will meet on the steps of the main entrance in Earl Street at 1.30pm. Please join them.
Posted 3 November 2018
May 2018
25 May 2018 Editorial
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

7 May 2018 Editorial
Minority parties deserve their wooden spoon. Predictably, the turn-out for the Coventry council elections was low and the minority parties failed to make any real impact.

Labour still has a dominant overall  majority - and took a seat in Earlsdon for the first time in 20 years.

Wainbody ward, which includes Cannon Park and Cannon Hill, remains a Tory stronghold with the re-election of Gary Crookes as the third councillor for the ward. For the record, in Wainbody the Tories polled 1867, Labour 1271, Lib-Dems 204, Greens 182 and Ukip 109.

The Cannon Park Community Association has no political allegiances. But is not wholly surprised that the last three parties’ votes, when added together, mustered less than half that of  the runner-up’s total.

If we were handing out prizes for the publicity skills the Greens, Lib-Dems and Ukip they would fully deserve to share a large wooden spoon. Two weeks before last Thursday’s elections we wrote to each candidate offering him - all were men - the platform of this website to explain their policies. We outlined concerns about traffic and student houses but made it clear they could use their allotted space to address any local issue. Far more space than a folded leaflet with a few bullet points shoved through the letterbox would allow.

This was their response: ”.............................”

Zero. Not a word from any of them, even when we sent a reminder.

They spurned an opportunity to expand on policies, alluded to in their national manifestos, which may have had a real impact on their potential constituents, and made them more electable.

But they didn’t bother.

So we never heard from the Greens about their proposals for working parties to look at the issues of student houses or how it would tackle traffic problems in this area. Ukip thundered in its national manifesto about how it would stop any more family homes becoming HiMOs but its local representative didn’t care to elaborate for a local audience. The Labour candidate didn’t respond either. But then his party leader, George Duggins has already taken the opportunity on this site to explain Labour’s stance on the area’s most controversial issue: the spread of student housing.

We didn’t ask the Tory candidate to contribute, feeling that we had already given over enough space to the party’s manifesto previously.

Instead, in the interest of balance, we made Ukip, the Greens and Lib-Dems an offer we thought they couldn’t refuse.

And they didn’t. They simply did nothing at all.
7 May 2018

April 2018
April 2018 Editorial
speeding car Action will talk louder than words to speeders now

There never really was any doubt of the need for action to curb speeding on Cannon Hill Road.

But, if proof were needed, it came in bucket loads on a cold and damp Thursday morning when local residents and police staged a Speedwatch session.

An hour monitoring the sheer recklessness of motorists who disregard the 30 mph limit in their desperation to get to work or schools a few minutes earlier was staggering.

The bloody-mindedness of their assumption that their precious time was more valuable than people’s lives was literally criminal.

One speeder not only failed to slow down when he saw the Speedwatch sign, he ignored a police officer in hi-viz jacket waving him down. Fortunately, the officer had the hard-won experience to know when not to step out into the road. But even so, with such a narrow path by the bridge area, taking just one step towards the kerb brought him within a foot or so of the speeding car. The driver carried on regardless doing at least 40 mph.

Another driver in a car bearing L-plates was successfully pulled up when he was clocked at around the 40 mph mark. Amazingly, it was the driver who was the learner and the qualified driver was sat alongside him, supposedly given him instruction. After a stern dressing down, they drove off, left in no doubt that they were both in fact guilty of the speeding offence. Luckily for them the Speedwatch event was a “warn and educate” exercise. Next time, they will be not be so fortunate.

They were quickly followed by a woman in her twenties driving a 4x4. Too quickly in fact and she was also flagged down and told that there was a school ahead on a sharp bend. She was asked to imagine how she would feel if one day it was her children crossing that road when a speeding car approached.

The Speedwatch session was the third organised by Cannon Park Residents’ Association under the supervision of PC Stuart Wheeler of the Neighbourhood Police Team based at Canley Station.

The number of speeding cars “clocked” breaking the limit has provided hard evidence of the need for enforcement action.

That means next time the police are out on Cannon Hill Road it won’t just be stern warnings and advice they’ll be issuing.

Our thanks to PC Wheeler and the Speedwatch initiative for getting us this far. There are already a large number of motorists who have been warned on the spot or by letter. Those who don’t take heed deserve to pay the price in licence penalty points and fines. For further information on Speedwatchsenbd an e-mail message cvcsw@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk
Posted 20 April 2018

March 2018
March 2018 Editorial
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 breathe 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
February 2018
February 2018 Editorial
An Open Letter to George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, from Mike Parsons, chairman of Cannon Park Communty Association

Mike Parsons
Mike Parsons
George Duggins
George Duggins
Councillor Duggins,
You responded to our deep concerns, *raised in an editorial on this website, over your party’s policy on Houses in Multiple Occupation.

You talk of working towards a balance of the needs of local residents and the universities. Which is exactly the point we are making.

The scales are now so heavily weighted in favour of student accommodation, at the expense of family housing, emergency action is now required to achieve that balance. Article 4 is not a draconian power to block all student accommodation, but a simple law which gives our elected representatives the right to limit numbers in specified areas. In other words, YOU have control of what goes on and not developers whose interest lies in profits not people.

You need look no farther than your counterparts in Trafford, Greater Manchester, to see how this can be done.
The council there has just implemented an Emergency Article 4 Direction to protect the local communities from the problems that we have suffered for more than a decade. Not only have they been allowed to develop unhindered in Coventry but have been actively encouraged by the City Council.

From the perspective of local residents in the Cannon Park/Hill and the immediate area it’s apparent that the Council has ignored completely the housing needs of young families through to the elderly.

For example, in Cannon Park the number if HiMOs is now in excess of 35 percent. That is, now more than a third of homes, built for families, no longer available to them. And within that area there are clusters of HiMO's in excess of 55 per cent. Local residents in Cannon Park are outnumbered by students. There are similar concentrations in adjoining Canley and to parts of Cannon Hill.

What is particularly disturbing is the alarming number bungalows that are being lost forever and are not being replaced by new builds.

You imply that Article 4 might adversely affect non-student low-income families in the rental sector. On the contrary, these are the people who suffer most from the proliferation of student accommodation as they can’t compete with the high rents demanded by landlords.

The Communities and Local Government Committee of the House of Commons recently called for planning rules to be amended to make it easier to build homes that are suitable for older people. So it seems utterly crazy to destroy the limited and very valuable stock of bungalows.. Not all elderly people want to spend their latter days in retirement ‘villages’ with all of the associated management and service charges!

Sadly, the Cannon Park community could have been saved had the Council heeded our warning several years ago and introduced an Article 4 Direction. We are well aware that any future implementation can't turn back the clock but at least we can try and save what is left of our community by asking you to take action without any further delay.

Even new build houses in the area in close proximity to the University of Warwick are being converted into HIMOs and student hostels. Surely this is contrary to the Government’s national housing strategy objective of meeting the acute housing shortage? We are aware that initial plans are being made to build 425 houses at the top of Westwood Heath Road, what will stop landlords from targeting these houses as well?

So to put it clearly: the only housing needs that are being catered for are the students at the exclusion of everyone else. How can this be described as 'balanced'?
*See the January 2018 Editorial on the Archives page.
14 February 2018
January 2018
January 2018 Editorial
Our aim is to provide news and information for everyone in the area, regardless of age or status. But, inevitably, there will be one topic that will at times dominate: the overwhelming influx of student housing. We make no apology for that. It poses the biggest threat to the harmony and cohesiveness of what was traditionally a balanced, family neighbourhood. One which now is in danger of becoming a student dormitory for the University of Warwick.

Why? The benefits to the university are obvious. It has expanded massively in the last decade to about 25,000 students but hasn’t provided anything like enough accommodation on campus.

For students, many of whom are from overseas, a house within a short walk of the university is an attractive proposition. The social dynamic of a housing estate is not on their curriculum, neither should we expect it to be. They are here to study and enjoy such an important part of their lives.

But the issue should be high on the list of priorities of Coventry City Council. Not just in this neighbourhood but city-wide.

The number of HiMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) given planning permission by the city council in Cannon Park is already way above what would be permitted in other major university cities.

Those are cities which have implemented what’s known as an Article 4 Direction, effectively a local planning law which allows it to limit the number of HiMOs in any given area


But the Coventry council has steadfastly refused to do this.

Why?
The city is facing a huge housing shortage and has recently announced huge areas of green belt will be sacrificed to meet targets. Yet it has stood by as hundreds of former council houses, which provided relatively low-cost homes in Canley, Cannon Park and Cannon Hill, have been bought by developers to convert to student hostels.

It is doing nothing to stop bungalows - a scarce commodity in Coventry - being taken out of the housing stock by developers cashing in by converting them to hostels for up to 10 students.

Even harder to understand is the council’s economic logic, at a time when it is having to close libraries and health care facilities to meet budget cuts. Once a house becomes student-only accommodation, no council tax is paid. Students are exempt, so too are landlords if they don’t live on the property. The “loss” of council tax on those properties to our city council is estimated at £6.5million a year.

As HiMOs are not classed as businesses, the owners - increasingly foreign investors- pay no business rates either. With some 10-bedroomed conversions raking in £75,000 a year in rent and local taxpayers picking up the bill for services like rubbish collection, is it any wonder they are exploiting the council’s open door policy?

Residents are entitled to ask why their needs take second place to the university’s.

Much is made of the prestige, investment, employment opportunities and vibrancy that the University of Warwick brings to Coventry. We would agree with that. To a point.

But it also needs saying that the university is a business. As it has charitable status, it benefits from massive Corporation tax exemptions and of course pays no council tax on halls of residence.

Those tax breaks helped it to record a “surplus” (ie profit) of £41.5 million in the financial year ending July 2017. It undoubtedly has brought jobs to the region, but judging be the queues of traffic coming in off the A46 each day most of its higher-paid staff live in south Warwickshire, not Coventry.

It’s a common jibe that Coventry council is so in awe of the university that when it says “jump” the response is “how high?” But the truth about their relationship is far more subtle if no less insidious.

Over the years the city council has formed many business “partnerships” with the university, mostly bringing benefits to both parties. A recent example was the uni’s backing for Coventry’s successful City of Culture bid.

George Duggins
Councillor
George Duggins
But have these close working partnerships diluted the independence of the city council when it comes to making decisions which might upset the university? We call on city council leader George Duggins to answer these questions and offer him the same space as this article to do so.