PEOPLE power won the day in South Warrington this week as members of Warrington’s Planning Committee rejected proposals by Eddie Stobart to build a huge distribution centre on Green Belt land.
I have nothing against Eddie Stobart and indeed they have invested heavily in Warrington – but as I commented prior to the planning application, this proposed development was too premature for our precious Green Belt Land, when we still have no idea what is being proposed in the Local Plan, which has again been put back until March next year.
Following the planning decision, Eddie Stobart were quick to announce they may well now look elsewhere to invest and create more jobs. If that is the case, so be it.
But I am sure other development opportunities will present themselves but we cannot afford to sacrifice what remains of our green belt until we have all the pieces of the jigsaw in place for the Local Plan, in the way of housing and infrastructure.
Again this week we have seen first-hand problems on our highways due to incidents on the local motorway network. Imagine how much worse they would have been if there had been a HGV distribution centre up at Appleton Thorn.
The battle for our Green Belt is far from over, with the threat of another huge Six 56 development by Langtree at Grappenhall – and of course Stobart may well decide to appeal against the decision of the planning committee.
But as the well organised parish councils and residents groups in the south of the borough have shown – any future developers will have a fight on their hands to build on our Green Belt spaces – and people power can win the day.
Some development is inevitable but what we need more of is affordable homes and leisure and recreational facilities – and of course a highways infrastructure which can cope with the additional demands.
We still don’t know if Warrington is ever going to get the funding the proposed Western Link!
So hopefully a lesson has been learned – no more major developments until the Local Plan is drawn up!