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Council chiefs approve controversial local plan for 19,000 homes


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.

Cllr Russ Bowden

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


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  1. Okay, I listened to the carefully crafted arguments on the night, and I’ve given this matter some time to weigh up what we were told, and it still doesn’t stack up.

    1. The number of homes which WBC are planning to build is greater than the minimum, largely because they’ve decided to approve a big logistics park in the south of the town, and those extra jobs justify building more homes (never mind that many of the people working there are likely to commute from elsewhere). Can you see the circularity in the logic here? If we don’t go for the logistics park, we can reduce the number of homes, too

    2. Even if we reduce the total to the minimum imposed by central government, it’s still a fair number of extra homes. Which brings us to the second questionable argument – that we HAVE to build on green belt land. No we don’t! We can build upwards. We could re-think the town centre. We can focus on brownfield sites. We can include brownfield sites which have already had planning permission, but which haven’t yet been built on. We can repurpose retail space – let’s be honest, most of the empty shops are unlikely to return as retail.

    3. To do this well would need a serious look at the town centre, by people with a real eye for town layout. That means external help – it’s clear that WBC doesn’t have the right mindset for this kind of visionary work. (That isn’t a dig, it’s just horses for courses). We also need to let the people of this town have a real say in future developments – feeding in at the ideas stage, rather than retrospectively

    4. It feels as if WBC has an agenda, and it hasn’t come from the people of the town. I don’t suppose that’s unusual – it’s a huge piece of work, and I’m sure that many people have been working hard for a very long time. However – you’ve come up with something which NOBODY wants – I don’t know anybody who supports this plan. Not one soul.

    What can we do? (We being the people of Warrington). I’m afraid we need to flex our electoral muscles if we’re to get this supertanker to change direction. Between now and 25th March (when full Council is expected to nod this plan through) we have to persuade our councillors that they won’t have a seat after the May 2020 elections unless they call this draft plan in and engage properly with the people.

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