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MP calls for extension to Local Plan consultation

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WARRINGTON South MP Faisal Rashid is urging Warrington Borough Council to extend the consultaion period on the Local Plan Preferred Development Option.

He is concerned many people will not have had chance to have their say on the Local Plan with consultations which started on July 18 finishing on September 12 – a period when many people are on holiday.

The Preferred Development Option sets out the Council’s proposed approach to meeting Warrington’s need for new homes and employment up to 2037 and identifies the infrastructure required to ensure that Warrington’s growth is sustainable.

In a letter to council leader Terry O’Neill, Faisal said: “This is a significant piece of work and the involvement of local people in shaping the Plan is crucial.

“I believe it is essential that as many Warrington residents and businesses are able to comment on the proposals as possible. The decision to run the consultation for an 8-week period is welcome. However, I do have concerns that for the most part consultation events on the Plan are taking place during the school summer holiday period.

“The timing of consultation is prohibitive for a number of residents in Warrington. Many will not be able to attend consultation events or feedback into the consultation process. Constituents have raised concerns with me on this.

“The proposals are emotive. They will shape the future of our town and many people with have views on this. It is essential that local people have the maximum opportunity to have their say on the future of where they live, work and run a business.

“I urge you to look again at the consultation period and to extend it to a date in October that would allow a greater number of residents to have their say. By doing so you will enable a wider, more transparent consultation which avoids any perception that the outcome has been predetermined.”

If Warrington is to meets its development needs and aspirations to become a ‘New City’, then evidence gathered by the council is suggesting that around 20,000 new homes and a total of 363 hectares of land for business and employment will be required by 2037.

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Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

7 Comments

  1. Good on Faisal for raising this. We’ve just had a shorter than usual consultation on the Western Links proposal; 4 weeks instead of 6 weeks (due to the general election) and now we are being asked to comment on the Local Plan. We need more time and more information to respond to such significant proposals that not only affect us but future generations. Warrington Borough Council appears to have made its mind up about how it thinks the town should look i.e. MORE ECONOMIC GROWTH and it has plenty of time to do so…more time than residents – we get 6 weeks. This exposes the mockery of the process of consultation. Which in effect, elected members and officers can ignore anyway.

    • The people drawing up and producing these plans have had all the time in the world to do so. Why then are the public consultations usually unreasonably short and/or coincident with holiday periods or other events? As Lisa remarks the unreasonably short periods allowed for public consultation leads to one to conclude public consultation doesn’t figure highly in the the minds of those we elect to represent us. If they want our votes for heavens sake begin to listen to us and stop, as you have in so many instances previously, putting us in the NIMBY tray. We live here and have to put up with many of the unacceptable decisions you have made.

  2. It seems to me that the council is so focused on gaining city status that it is totally blinkered to anything else. I have been amazed at decisions made over the last few years. Is this really a Labour council??? Let’s face it. They are just looking at these ‘consultations’ as a formality they have to honour! They never listen to the public and the public need to remember that when voting time comes around! Well done Faisal for behaving like a real Labour MP and calling out the council on this.

  3. Much as I liked Faisal as a local Councillor its important to note he supported the development on Omega including the thousand plus houses they are building so is jointly responsible for the chaos on our roads and loss of habitat / veteran Oak trees (that had managed to survive the second world war but not Warrington Borough Council). When we contacted him with our concerns about ecological destruction he just replied that ‘new trees would be planted’ –
    hardly compensation if you visit the site or are stuck in traffic n Burtonwood Road. Funny how things change now leafy Appleton and Stretton is involved.

  4. BARBARA, I can understand your discontent at the traffic chaos caused in your area, and the loss of habitat and veteran trees but this is not unique to your area this is happening all over the town.
    You say “now leafy Appleton and Stretton is involved” as though this threat is new to this area. It isn’t. Over the years this area has seen much development – without the infrastructure to support it and there is already chaos on the roads – anyone trying to pass through Lumb Brook in the morning/evening will tell you this. Stretton and Stockton Heath are also very badly affected.
    We have had a great concrete slab of a bridge smashed through our once beautiful ancient woodland – not just ancient for Warrington but one of the most ancient in Britain! And we have already lost many green fields.
    With regard to Faisal Rashid – I note, disappointedly, that he has said merely that the consultation period should be extended – and said nothing to suggest that he is actually against the developments.
    Quote from the above article;
    “In a letter to council leader Terry O’Neill, Faisal said: “This is a significant piece of work and the involvement of local people in shaping the Plan is crucial.”
    The involvement of local people IS CRUCIAL – because if the consultation process is challenged for not being conducted properly the plans can be kicked into touch! Also, without public support any bid for ‘City Status’ will fail!
    So, is Faisal Rashid’s concern over the consultation period due to public concern over the plans or due to concern that if the consultation isn’t done properly the plans could be blocked?
    Mr Rashid has not yet, as far as I am aware, made his stance on the proposed South Warrington developments clear – unlike Helen Jones who openly fights to save Peel Hall.
    BARBARA, our whole town is under threat and personally I believe that ALL of the political party groups are backing the ‘City’ expansion plans.
    The only means we have of stopping this destruction is for the whole town to unite in opposition to the plans – the creation of a North/ South divide will not help anyone but the developers and the power hungry politicians.

    • Or does she? Helen may give the appearance of fighting against the Peel Hall development but someone with 100% genuine commitment would have at least have bothered to turn up to the public planning meeting with residents. Helen chose not too and has never bothered to adequately explain her absence. Press releases are easy. Actually ‘doing’ is much more harder

      • I can’t answer that BILLYWIRES as only Helen Jones herself knows why she didn’t attend the Parr Hall meeting. She may have had a very good reason to explain her absence or maybe not?
        I can’t tell you the actual level of her commitment either – only she knows that too.
        She has however made numerous appearances and made numerous statements in support of the campaigners – which has to be better than nothing.
        As I said in my reply to BARBARA, I personally believe that ALL of the political party groups are backing the ‘City’ expansion plans. If they weren’t we wouldn’t be in the position we are now. A draft local development plan has been drawn up – over a long period of time – which, it seems, the majority of Warrington towns-people strongly oppose, yet of the 60 borough councillors we have how many have made any effort to support the interests of the people they were elected to represent?
        The only people actually ‘doing’ anything to support the people of Warrington will be the people themselves. The draft local plan has caused great anger and some of this anger will no doubt be reflected at the next local / general elections. Perhaps this ‘step too far’ will ultimately result in a replacement of the politicians whose ‘aspirations’ for Warrington are in such conflict with those of the people.

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