GREEN Belt will be released as part of the 20-year plan to deliver the homes, jobs, transport infrastructure and community facilities Warrington needs as outlined in the Draft Local Plan to be considered by the Council’s executive board next Monday (March 11).
Warrington’s ‘Proposed Submission Version’, or draft, Local Plan has been published today by the council, setting out the legal planning framework for the borough’s development over the next two decades.
The draft plan – which has been drawn up in accordance with government planning guidance, and informed by feedback from the public – aims to deliver 18,900 new homes (or 945 per year), until 2037. It also aims to support Warrington’s ongoing economic growth by making 362 hectares of employment land available.
The minimum number of new homes set by the Government exceeds the amount of urban and brownfield land available in Warrington. The plan, therefore, proposes unlocking some areas of Green Belt land for development to provide more homes and employment land.
Detailed work carried out by the Council has found that it is possible to deliver approximately 14,000 new homes and 111 hectares of employment in existing urban areas. This means that the remainder of land for housing and employment would need to be released from the Green Belt.
Key areas of growth identified in the plan include:
* Warrington Waterfront – extending from the south west of the town centre to the Manchester Ship Canal – to be allocated as a new urban quarter to deliver around 2,000 new homes, a new local centre and primary school, and a major employment area.
* The Garden Suburb – to be developed as a sustainable urban extension to the south east of the main urban area of Warrington, delivering around 7,400 homes (5,100 during the Plan period, including the 930 homes currently under construction), extensive infrastructure and community facilities and a major new employment location at the junction of the M6 and M56.
* The South West Urban Extension – to develop land to the north of the A56 at Higher Walton as a sustainable urban extension to the main urban area of Warrington, providing around 1,600 new homes, a new local centre and primary school, with ease of access to employment, recreation, community and cultural facilities.
The draft Local Plan will ensure that the infrastructure required to support Warrington’s growth will be appropriately phased with new development.
If the plan is approved by the executive board, it will be submitted to Full Council for approval on March 25. Full Council approval would pave the way to an eight week formal public consultation in April, with the council planning to write to every household as part of the consultation process.
Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “The Government requires that all local authorities have a viable Local Plan. We are committed to using our plan to build a better future for Warrington and its people.
“Our population is growing and our economy is thriving. We need to respond to that by making sure we have enough homes for local people now, and in the future. Using the Government’s minimum housing needs calculation, we have no option but to release some Green Belt land for development.
“As Warrington has grown over the decades, the reality now is that our urban areas are nearing their development capacity. Even so, the vast majority of development proposed in the Plan is earmarked for these areas, and we have taken every step to protect and preserve the Green Belt as much as possible. Some Green Belt development is necessary, but is only being proposed where all urban and brownfield development options have been exhausted – and we are committed to preserving almost 90 per cent of our Green Belt.
“We need to make sure residents, in particular our young people, have access to affordable housing. That’s why we’re proposing that 20% of homes built in inner Warrington and 30% elsewhere in the borough, will be affordable.
“It’s also vital we meet the needs of an ageing population, and we have a responsibility to ensure residents with disabilities are supported to live independently. Our plan, therefore, proposes that one in five new homes will be built for elderly residents, and that we build more wheelchair accessible homes.”
“Our plan aims to support new jobs and businesses, so that Warrington is an attractive place to work and invest in. And it aims to provide first class community facilities – new schools, medical centres, shops and roads – all of which will support thriving new communities.”
For more information, and to read the draft Local Plan, please visit: warrington.gov.uk/localplan