A public question & answer session was held on the St Mary's Lands master plan on Monday 25 September at Warwick Town Council, The Ballroom, The Courthouse, Jury Street in Warwick. Members of the public were invited to come along and find out what is in the master plan and ask any questions. In total, 80 residents, councillors and business owners attended the meeting.
A full summary of the questions and answers from the public session are now available. St Mary's lands Q&As.
Please note: this is a summary of the Q&A's from the public meeting. If you have any further questions or feel that your question has not been adequately reflected or answered, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update the list.
The master plan represents a balanced response to the opportunities and threats posed at St. Mary’s Lands. It recognises there may be a need to invest in developments that support the wider economy, such as a hotel and expansion of the caravan park, but where any such need exists, it cannot be at the detriment to the greenspace. Any such development must respond to the sense of place and the multi-purpose sporting, recreational and leisure use of this important public open space.
The need to plan for the replacement of dated facilities, such as the Golf Centre, Corp of Drums, Warwick Racing Football Club, and facilities at the Racecourse affords the opportunity to significantly address the poor quality and often ad-hoc decisions of the past with an approach that is more in keeping with the Conservation Area. Common ground has been found on these issues across the range of interests represented by the St. Mary’s Lands Working Party and the master plan captures this broad consensus.
Our vision is a future for St. Mary’s Lands where the natural and cultural heritage is protected and enhanced – where a vibrant range of community uses, economic regeneration and environmental enhancement thrive together in this inspiring natural setting.
- To manage, enhance and promote the landscape character of St. Mary's Lands, including increasing its biodiversity
- To manage, enhance and promote St. Mary's Lands as a green space distinctly different to the more formal parks and open spaces in Warwick, ensuring access is maintained and enhanced to a large area of more natural open space within walking distance of the town centre
- To promote St. Mary's Lands as a visitor destination, where any such increase in visitor numbers are compatible with preserving and protecting the site's landscape quality, biodiversity and sense of place
- To support the many organisations that contribute to the broader community needs or local economy, where such support does not lead to a loss of landscape quality, biodiversity or sense of place
The master plan is not against change; indeed it recognises that change is often an essential ingredient in sustaining a relevance to the community the open space serves.
Throughout its creation, the master plan has been discussed and scrutinised at a number of Warwick District Council’s Committees.
- Executive, 3 September 2015 - St Mary’s Lands Executive Report (Item 3)
- Executive, 6 April 2016 - Proposed Public Consultation on a Master plan for St Mary’s Lands, Warwick (Item 6)
- Executive, 30 November 2016 - Delivery Stage Planning for the Master plan proposals (Item 8)
- Executive, 8 March 2017 - St Mary’s Lands Delivery Plan for 2017/18 (Item 11)
- Executive, 28 June 2017 - St Mary’s Lands Master plan approval (Item 5)
- Council, 9 August 2017 - Master plan proposals approved by Full Council (Item 10c)
The master plan underwent an extensive consultation process, with a consultation document produced alongside a public exhibition at Shire Hall, Warwick from 20 – 27 May 2016, and at Warwick Market on 28 May 2016. The consultation also ran online, and presentations were made to the Warwick Society, Warwick Town Council and The Friends of St Mary's Lands. 198 people completed the detailed questionnaire, with nearly 600 people attending the exhibitions. In addition, 492 people visited our web page regarding the consultation.
The consultation outcomes were presented to the Council’s Executive in November 2016.
St Mary’s Lands Working Party
The St Mary’s Lands Working Party was established at the request of the District Council, to be responsible for producing the Master plan. It is made up of representatives from different groups in Warwick, to ensure the views of all users would be included in the consultation process. The Friends of St Mary’s Lands (FSML) is one of those user groups.
Nigel Hamilton and Anthony Butcher who were in the FSML group, were both elected onto the St Mary’s Lands Working Party to ensure representation of that user group.
Throughout the development of the Master plan, the FSML received regular reports and notes from the Working Party meetings. They were also consulted regularly to gauge their opinions on the Working Party proposals.
Further consultation included;
- An Annual General Meeting with resolutions
- Special meetings with detailed presentations by Colin Burden from Plincke, to the Warwick Society and Warwick Town Council
- An online survey showing nearly 73% of the public supported the Master plan
- All the public stages of St Mary's Lands Working Party plans were posted to the FSML website
The Master plan also had the support of the then FSML Committee, with regular voting in favour of the strategy put forward, both verbally and in a formal written position paper to the Working Party and this was made available to the general FSML membership.