Cllr. Howard Roberts

Cllr. Howard Roberts

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Next month we, the people of Warwickshire, will be voting to elect a Police and Crime Commissioner. The person elected will control local police funding, have the power to employ our Chief Constable and set the objectives for policing in Warwickshire. An important role I am sure you will agree.

Many of the you have raised with me concerns that looming police budget cuts could see rural officer     numbers fall, meaning that crime in our villages increases. The new Police Commissioners will have a great influence on whether our villages remain safe places to live.

With the election to decide who will be Warwickshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner taking place on 15th November I have arranged a debate between the three candidates. The debate will focus on the subject of rural crime. I hope it will give anyone interested the chance to hear the candidates debate issues relevant to our villages at first hand. There will be an open floor for questions.

The debate is free and open to all who wish to attend. Please just turn up on the night. The details are given below. I very much hope you will be able to attend—I look forward to meeting you there.

Rural Policing: The Views of the Police and Crime Commissioner Candidates
Date: Wednesday 31st October
Time: 7pm
Location: Dunchurch Village Hall
Duration: 1 hour

Sunday, 7 October 2012


As you will recall, at the recent election I warned about the threat of major development in our villages. During a recent full council meeting I asked the council leader about projections for house building in the borough; it was revealed that villages will be used by the council in order to meet their target for new homes.

Following on from this revelation was the Government’s announcement that it is to consult on allowing the greenbelt to be built upon and house extensions of up to eight metres deep be acceptable without planning consent.

Nearby Wolston is the first village to be targeted by developers. I successfully persuaded the planning committee in February to throw out a plan to build 92 houses on green fields in Wolston. However, now the  developers are back with a plan for 80 houses. In building a case against the plans, Wolston Parish Council have asked me for advice and guidance.

Whilst Wolston is not in my ward, I have been happy to help their Parish Council because if they lose their fight to save green fields near them it sets a precedent that could see villages in this ward being under threat.

I am not against all development, but there are a number of brownfield sites in the town that are being ignored, some already have planning permission.  The developers know that clean rural sites are cheaper to build on and command higher prices. Nationally there are 400,000 prospective homes that have planning permission but are not being constructed.

I am pushing for our local planning officers to meet their targets by forcing builders to focus on urban sites that really need regeneration. The urban brownfield sites can offer affordable housing to help address the shortfall. It should not be the case that companies automatically seek planning permission for properties that will impact upon our beautiful rural areas—that should be a last resort.