BOROUGH council chiefs at Warrington have approved the controversial Local Plan, which aims to deliver nearly 19,000 homes over the next 20 years.
Members of the council’s executive board approved the plan after a lengthy debate.
More than 7,000 homes will have to be built on Green Belt land.
The executive board’s decision will now go to a meeting of the full council on March 25 – and is likely to be approved.
There would be an eight week formal public consultation and it is likely the plan will be adopted next year.
The plan also proposed making 362 areas of land available for employment purposes – including Green Belt areas.
The meeting at the Town Hall was attended by campaigners opposed to the proposals.
Among them were members of campaign group opposed to development at Peel Hall who want the site to be removed from the Local Plan.
They refuted claims by councillors that the borough would have greater control over any future development at Peel Hall if it remained in the Local Plan.
Campaigners said it appeared the council had ambitions to expand the borough without taking into account of the wishes of existing residents.
Cllr Judith Guthrie, the council’s lead member for the environment, said if the site was not within the Local Plan, developers would be able to win planning consent for housing without the necessary infrastructure.
She also pointed out that it was not just Warrington affected by the proposals. Neighbouring authorities such as Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and, in particular, Greater Manchester, were also having to surrender Green Belt land.
Council leader Russ Bowden said if every piece of brownfield land in Warrington was used, it would still not be possible to meeting housing targets set by the Government without using Green Belt.
However, the council would only use Green Belt land as a last “resort.”
Videos of the executive board debate and interviews with campaigners outside the Town Hall can be seen on the Warrington-Worldwide Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/warringtonworldwide