Councillors refuse to
vote on “affordable”
by David Skentelbery
A CONTROVERSIAL housing scheme which includes 100 “affordable” homes is to go to appeal after planning chiefs at Warrington refused to vote on it.
No member of the borough council’s development control committee would move a resolution that the scheme in Longbutt Lane, Lymm be approved.
But neither would anyone move refusal.
The committee adjourned in confusion while officers sought legal advice and reconvened half-an-hour later.
When members still refused to vote chairman Jeff Richards announced that the issue would automatically go to appeal on the grounds the council had failed to determine the application.
Councillors had earlier been warned that counsel’s opinion was that if the issue went to appeal the council would lose and face substantial costs.
It is believed to be the first time in the council’s history that a committee has refused to vote on an issue.
The impasse was reached after a seven-year planning battle that included two public inquiries and hearings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Outline planning consent was eventually granted only on condition that half the 214 properties would be “affordable in perpetuity.”
Planners have met three times to consider the detailed proposals but are not convinced that developer Wilson Connolly – part of the Taylor Woodrow Group – has come up with proposals that make the homes genuinely “affordable in perpetuity.”
They say the three-storey flats put forward as the “affordable” element in the development will require an income of about ?27,000-a-year to purchase or cost ?650-a-month to rent – more than local people can afford.
The developers dispute this and say by the time the homes are built wage inflation will have made them even more affordable.
Coun Sheila Woodyatt said: “There are 6,900 people on our housing waiting list. Genuinely affordable homes would be a godsend to them and here is a golden opportunity to provide it.
“But I am convinced this proposal does not deliver affordability in perpetuity. I know we have been told we would lose an appeal but I believe we must fight on. For the sake of future generations, we cannot afford to compromise on affordability.”
Coun Ian Marks said: I am very pleased with this outcome because the council must stand up to developers who try and ride roughshod over local communities.
“Planning consent on this site was only allowed because of a legal loophole over affordable housing. We must make sure the houses built are genuinely affordable. I don’t believe they are. The safeguards are not watertight.
Councillors also oppose the scheme on highway safety grounds and the damaging impact of three storey flats which would be the same height as the spire Oughtrington parish church, half-a-mile away.
TV presenter Kate
ready to “bear all”
by John Hendon
TV presenter Kate McIntyre, who comes from Warrington, is to “bear all” in the cause of charity.
Kate and co-presenter Ian Harvey will spare their blushes by hiding behind a collection of teddy bears which have been specially commissioned by the Breast Cancer Campaign.
The bear is named Millie and has been made by a specialist teddy bear manufacturer, Merrythought. It is on sale until December 15 in aid of the charity. But only a limited number of the cuddly bears has been produced.
Kate and Ian, who present two ITV1 programmes on collectibles, “Bootsale Treasure Hunt” and “Trading Treasures”, agreed to “grin and bear it” to help raise Millie’s profile.
Said Kate: “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m nervous, but it’s for a great cause.”
Each bear is individually numbered and is expected to become a collector’s item. It proudly sports the Breast Cancer Campaign logo embroidered on its chest.
The bear can be ordered at www.mycollectorsnet.com
College trio star in
Rugby League victory
by staff reporter
THREE students are the toast of Priestley College, Warrington after playing key roles in a rugby victory.
Andy Moulsdale, Kyle Neal and Craig Cornelia were all members of the Warrington Wolves Under 18s team which defeated Huddersfield to become the first division Academy Grand Final winners.
All three are on sports science courses at the college and have to balance their studies with their commitments to Wolves.
They play key roles in the victoria with Cornelia bagging two tries and Moulsdale another, while Neal had a strong game in the second-row.
All three players were part of the college team which swept all before them last season during the course of an undefeated league campaign. Neal and Cornelia have also recently been selected for England.
Matthew Richmond, who coaches the college team was thrilled with the achievement of the three.
He said: “It is really good to see the manner in which the guys have progressed during their time at Priestley and I for one congratulate them on their Grand Final win.”
Priestley has become renowned for its continued excellence in the field of Rugby League development with many local youngsters opting to pursue courses at the college, while continuing their dream for Super League stardom. The college has high hopes for its recent intake of students including Paul Reynolds and Kevin Penny, who are other youngsters recently snapped up by the Wolves.
Traders join campaign
to save canal business
by Lesley Wilkinson
TRADERS in Stockton Heath, Warrington, have joined in a campaign to save a threatened canal-side business.
Thirty business people have signed the petition which calls for the retention of Thorn Marine, the boat chandler, at London Bridge.
The petition follows an earlier one signed by hundreds of boat owners who use the shop.
Coun Patrick Mullee, who represents Stockton Heath Parish Council on the Bridgewater Canal User Group, said he presented the petition to the group to show there was strong support locally for the facility.
The business is threatened because owners Peel Holdings want to re-develop the site for housing.
Coun Mullee said campaigners were trying to get the Thorn Marine building listed as being of historic or architectural importance.
He said: “We want to make it a heritage site. There have been more than 13,500 visitors to Thorn Marine during the past 12 months – they all visit Stockton Heath and bring trade to the village,” he said.
Coun Mullee said the user group was looking at developments along the whole of the Bridgewater Canal to make it more “user friendly.”
The proposed re-development of the Thorn Marine site was under review.
Planners hear of
by David Skentelbery
PLANNING bosses want to study the site of a proposed three storey apartment block at Glazebury, near Warrington before deciding whether the scheme can go ahead.
Members of the borough council’s development control committee decided to visit the site in Warrington Road, adjoining the Chat Moss public house.
The scheme involves the demolition of a pair of semi-detached bungalows and has resulted in 70 letters of objection from nearby residents.
Culcheth and Glazebury Parish Council is also concerned that the scheme is out of character with the area and that parking provision is inadequate.
Developers Harlor Group want to build a block of 15 apartments on the site. They won outline planning consent in January and are now seeking detailed permission.
Neighbours say the development will result in a hazardous onto a busy road which already has an accident record. The density and height proposed would be incompatible with the surroundings.
But 13 residents have written letters supporting the scheme on the grounds that additional people in the area would provide support for sho
ps and other services have been lost.
Dads offered quality
time with children
by Lesley Wilkinson
DADS are being offered the chance to spend more quality time with their children by a new group being run in Dallam, Warrington.
Fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other male carers can take children aged nought to four, with their older siblings to the project at the Buffer Bear Neighbourhood Nursery in Boulting Ave, between 5 and 7pm on Thursdays.
Sure Start North Warrington is running the Dads and Kids group for a four-week trial, following the success of a similar group it runs at the Vida sports complex in Long Lane.
The Dallam group will offer dads the chance to spend time with their children away from the distractions of home life, find out about services in the area and meet other dads.
Bruce Cadwallader, Sure Start’s programme manager said: “We often speak to dads who say that they wish that there were groups they could attend with their children, but feel that they are geared for mums or they are not open after work. The aim of dads group is to resolve these issues and get dads active in their children’s play, learning and well being”.
The group is open to dads and other male carers, with children under five, who live in Dallam, Bewsey, Orford or Longford. Further information is available from Ann Peacey on 656581.