HOUSING development plans which caused a major employer to consider moving out of Nuneaton will not go ahead.
Members of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council's Planning Committee turned down an application made by contractors, rg+p ltd, from Leicester, to build up to 40 family homes on The Shepperton Business Park off Triton Road in Nuneaton.
Councillors decided that the need for jobs in the Wembrook Ward was just as important as the demand for housing, and the land, which is currently used by manufacturing and warehousing firms, is more suitable for industrial use.
Lorna Fellowes, managing director of Triton Showers, shared the view that the site was unsuitable for residential use and told the committee that Triton would consider leaving the park if the application was approved.
"To build housing just a few metres away from Triton Showers would risk the safety of those people that would be living there," she said.
"We are a busy site, often operating six days a week with 20 articulated lorries delivering components and finished products which I think could cause a nuisance and generate complaints.”
She suggested safety, noise and security issues with the residents could affect the operation of the company which employs some 350 people.
"If the plan goes ahead we would seriously have to consider leaving Nuneaton all together,” she added.
Wembrook Ward councillor Julie Jackson also said she believed living next to such a busy site would be of nuisance to anyone that moved there.
“On one hand we need housing but we have a need for jobs here and this development could cause conflict for businesses,” she said.
Andy Ward, agent for the contractors, who hoped to build the homes 30 feet away from Triton, said the project would be economically sustainable as it would 'generate valuable construction jobs' and 'create affordable housing'.
Rick Moore, who spoke on behalf of the landowner, said: "We fully understand the importance of Triton Showers in Nuneaton but candidly you are looking at our application on its merits.
"There is no other demand for this site, we could market it for another five and a half years but there would still be no demand.
"I take exception to threats of judicial review and pulling out, they are tactics of bully boys."
But councillors had their own concerns: "We wouldn't dream of putting a factory in the middle of a residential estate but what we are doing here is considering putting houses in the middle of an industrial area," said Cllr Bill Sheppard. "It is ludicrous."
"No one has argued for affordable housing more than myself but this is the wrong place for it," he added.
Cllr Tony Lloyd, cabinet member for housing, agreed: "We do not just wanting housing at any cost, this would be in the wrong place, make no mistake about it."
Cllr Keith Kondakor, who voted against refusal, agreed that the need for jobs is rife but was concerned that the land could be wasted.
"We want jobs and we want housing there isn't enough land to go around. I just don't want this land to be wasted when developers are building on countryside elsewhere."
A number of objections to the application had also been submitted by residents from nearby estates who were concerned about the dangers to occupiers from the volume of HGVs and the risk increased traffic will cause to local schoolchildren.
Points were also made that suggested the noise and security lighting from businesses would have a detrimental affect on new residents.
Members of the planning committee voted refusal.