PEEL Hall campaigners rolled up their sleeves and carried out a litter pick at the last remaining natural green space in North Warrington, collecting 114 bags of rubbish!
The fate of Peel Hall is hanging in the balance pending a Government Planning Inspectorate and residents are being urged to attend the appeal set to start next Monday, April 23.
While The Secretary of State will have the casting vote on the fate of the site, Warrington Borough Council officials and its legal team, will battle it out against Satnam Millennium in a bid to stop the landowner from being granted outline planning permission for a controversial ‘mixed use neighbourhood’ including 1,200 houses.
The campaigners’ litter pick focused in on Peel Hall parks, woodland and Radley Common areas.
It was the idea of campaigner Jon Parr, who said: “This was a triumph from start to finish and it clearly demonstrated just how we feel about the green areas around us and the strength of feeling we have against this proposal.
“Up to 80 adults and 21 children came forward and worked tirelessly on what was, so far, the hottest day of the year. Our council supplied the picking gear and Electric Center kindly supplied the protective gloves. Everyone had smiles on their faces and there was great community spirit all around. We all had a cracking day and we ended it feeling proud and with a real sense of achievement.”
The pickers filled 114 bin bags. In addition to the standard cans, bottles and paper, some of the heavier items included a pram, TV, a small engine, lawn mower parts, a rusty mattress frame, children’s toys, carpets, tyres and bits of metal. The total haul was in the region of 612 kilos.
Fellow campaigner and wildlife expert, former Mayor of Warrington, Geoff Settle said: “! spent a few glorious moments watching buzzards and shortly afterwards saw my first butterfly of the year, a Red Admiral in the sunshine. Our litter pick was a great way to protect wildlife and share the magic which is on our doorstep. You don’t have to wait for TV’s ‘Springwatch’, just get out onto Peel Hall!”
Meanwhile Jon added: “It was great to see the children’s faces when they walked away with a certificate and a well-earned goodie bag. The day could not have gone any better and everyone had fun and at the same time made this area cleaner and safer This was an excellent example of one community working together. The cost of this event was nothing, but the end result was priceless.”
But he emphasised that the underlining theme of the pick had a more serious note, “We know that the appeal Inspector, council officials and representatives from Satnam will be touring this area next week and we want to make it clear to all that we care and appreciate where we all live and we want it to stay exactly as it is.”
The campaign group is now bracing itself for one of the most crucial hurdles in its 20-year battle.
“This appeal is going to be a hard and dirty fight and we expect our council and legal experts to be on the ball at all times. Thousands of residents are banking on an appeal result of dismissal and nothing less,” said campaigner Wendy Johnson-Taylor.
“We know that Satnam’s tactics are relentless and this is the way it works by browbeating local councils into submission. We want our council to know that we are not for giving up and we will fight for as long and as hard as it takes to save Peel Hall. We want this council to fight as hard as we have.”
Another campaigner Jim Sullivan added: “This is where we live. This landowner only cares about making money. We need to stand up and let the Planning Inspector hear the truth. This development isn’t wanted, it is not sustainable and it would damage the quality of life for thousands of residents.”
Wendy added: “There has to be at some point a line drawn where all parties say enough is enough. This fight is going into decades and there’s something about this land which is saying that it is not compatible with a sustainable development. We must stop Satnam once and for all. This threatens the future stability of North Warrington. If we get the result we have worked so hard for then there must be some law in the land that can put a halt to these continuous and worthless money wasting exercises and futile clashes of swords.”
The campaign group is urging residents join them at the appeal hearing which starts on Monday April 23rd at 1pm at the Orford Jubilee Hub. It is listed for 14 days. “It’s vital that residents stand with us at some point during the hearing. A day, morning, afternoon or the odd hour will make all the difference,” added Wendy.