Plans for a vast eco park next to a proposed new Coventry City FC stadium have been unveiled today.
University of Warwick is behind the 118-acre scheme which will connect up with planned transport infrastructure and provide outdoor space for staff and the wider public.
The proposal for the site south of its campus near Coventry city centre has been put forward for consideration as part of the South Warwickshire Local Plan being drawn up by Stratford and Warwick district councils.
This latest project follows the announcement last July that University of Warwick had entered into a partnership agreement with Championship club Coventry City to build a new stadium on land close to the institute’s campus on the southwest edge of the city which would be served by new transport links.
The aim of the eco park is to help support and develop a more sustainable future for the university campus, its students and staff and surrounding communities, and support the shift towards more sustainable and active forms of transport.
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This would include an improved network of pedestrian and cycle routes and a boarding point for any future very light rail services to the campus.
It will also form part of the university’s own transport strategy to help develop and champion more sustainable transport links to and around its campus, including a possible train station and roads configured to support green transport.
The park will have three core themes which the university is calling ‘Discovery’, ‘Ecology’ and ‘Energy’.
The first will provide new recreational space and pedestrian and cycle paths, including the established Sustrans route, which will connect the main campus to the nearby Greenway and Kenilworth Road.
Plans also include a new sculpture trail and picnic areas.
Ecology will include nature reserves to support diverse wildlife with new and enhanced habitats linking into the heart of campus and which will provide opportunities for nature study for local schools.
Energy is space for renewable energy generation to serve the campus and potentially the wider community.
Vice-chancellor Stuart Croft said: “This is the biggest single development announcement the university has made in decades. I am sure it will surprise many that it is for a huge public eco park rather than a set of buildings.
“The last 15 months of lockdowns and isolation have brought home to us all the value of getting outside to walk, exercise or simply relax in somewhere green, free and accessible.
“Coventry and Warwickshire has several great such spaces but this last year has certainly increased almost everyone’s desire for even more.
“If this finds favour in the new South Warwickshire Local Plan, it will be so much more than just a great green public space.
“It will be a green conscience that for decades will help shape all our decisions on the travel links we create to it and any structures we build near it to be green, sustainable, transport links and buildings.”