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MP opposes any Green Belt development as part of Local Plan

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WARRINGTON South MP Faisal Rashid is backing his constituents and objecting to any development on Green Belt land as part of the council’s Local Plan Preferred Development Option.

He has also called for a re-think on the amount of housing development that has been identified by the council which is suggesting more than 20,000 new homes need to be built, including many on Green Belt land, over the next 20 years, if Warrington is going to meet its development needs and aspirations.

In a letter to Warrington Borough Council Chief Executive Steven Broomhead Faisal said: “Like many of my constituents who have contacted me about the Local Plan, I object to plans to develop on the Green Belt, I have serious concerns about proposals that would see our town lose much-loved green open spaces and I call for a rethink on the amount of housing development that has been identified.

While agreeing that local residents should have access to good quality jobs, high quality housing, including social housing and homes for first time buyers, and a good standard of living Faisal says
Green Belt and where possible green open spaces, should be protected from development. He also wants to see real workable solutions to Warrington’s transport problems, in particular solutions that will tackle the real and inherent  problems of congestion and poor air quality.

Faisal added: “Since the launch of the consultation in July, I have met many constituents and listened to their views on the Preferred Option. There is a great deal of uncertainty, anxiety and anger over the proposals. There is particular anger over proposals that could see significant parts of the existing Green Belt designated for development. I share my constituent’s concerns on this.

The challenge for Warrington Borough Council is to develop proposals that will:
1) encourage the efficient use of land;
2) protect our Green Belt/green open spaces;
3) promote the regeneration of brownfield sites.

He added: “These three principles should form the building blocks upon which the Local Plan is constructed. The Council has to get the balance between these three principles right. If it does not, the adverse impact of an unbalanced Local Plan will be felt for years to come.

Faisal said he had also received a number of complaints from constituents about the way the consultation process was delivered.

He added: I was contacted by concerned residents who told me that due to the timing of the consultation, over the summer holidays, they were unable to attend the consultation events. Others contacted me to say that they had not received any information about the events or indeed any information about the Local Plan until late in the consultation process.

“Concerns have also been raised about the fact that information was not sent to residents in all local areas likely to be affected in some way by the proposals. Other constituents tell me that they
were reliant on social media for the information about the consultation process.

“If this part of the consultation process on the Local Plan is to be seen to have any merit, all residents and interested parties must have been given every opportunity to view the proposals,
question council officers about the proposals and then have the opportunity to make informed submissions for consideration.

He went on to stress the major concern about the Local Plan raised by constituents was its adverse impact on the Green Belt and the proposal to build 9,345 of the designated 24,774 new homes on Green Belt land.

Of these 8,155 new dwellings are proposed on the Green Belt south of the Manchester Ship Canal, with 240 new dwelling in North Warrington Green Belt and 450 new dwellings in the East Warrington Green Belt.

He concluded that the development of local Green Belt land was the wrong approach to take to meet the housing needs set out by Government.

“It is a short-sighted approach which ignores the wishes of local people.”

“I welcome proposals that will help my constituents to access good quality jobs. However, alongside economic benefits we must ensure that residents maintain access to quality green open spaces
and have improved local transport provision.”

To read a full copy of Faisal’s letter CLICK HERE

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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.

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