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Villagers urged to speak out on draft local plan

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Cllr Val Allen

RESIDENTS of the Culcheth and Croft areas are being urged to make sure they have a say on the proposals for the two villages in Warrington’s Local Plan when it goes out for public consultation.
Cllr Val Allen and Cllr Keith Bland, who are Conservative members of both Culcheth and Glazebury and Croft parish councils, spoke out following approval of the Local Plan by the borough council’s executive board.
Cllr Allen believes the level of building proposed for the Green Belt is too high and the proposed site in Croft will lead to more traffic in rural village.
She said: “The inclusion of a proposal to build up to 75 homes in Croft, in Green Belt, is totally unacceptable.
“Not only is this a large development in what is a small, under-facilitated village, with limited public services and transport, but a significant amount of the proposed land lies directly behind Croft Primary School.
“When my children went to this school, they enjoyed fields on three sides, with horses grazing – this is how they remember their school days. Several years ago a housing estate was built on one side, with houses right up to the school boundary.
“Today, the school enjoys this open vista on two sides and the children are settled in their school in a rural village setting. This is one of the reasons why the residents of Croft have chosen to bring their children up in this lovely village.
“The proposal to build a large number of houses, right up to the rear boundary of the school will have the effect of closing in the school on two sides, with houses overlooking the playground and playing field, leaving our children vulnerable during construction through to occupation.
“We cannot allow this to happen. Our Green Belt is precious, and the village is under siege already with HGV’s trundling through narrow country lanes, narrowly missing our children on footpaths that are hardly wide enough for a pram. This development will only exacerbate this problem and put the future of our children and grandchildren at risk”.
Cllr Bland said: “I am opposed to development in the Green Belt – and in Culcheth and Glazebury there is precious little land left that isn’t in the Green Belt.
“The roads where they are proposing to build houses in Culcheth – Holcroft Lane and Warrington Road – are already choc-a-block with traffic and can be gridlocked at peak periods.
“I believe that once we have allowed some building in the Green Belt, the major developers will want more.
“We already know from what they said at the start of the Local Plan process that they want literally thousands of houses in Culcheth and Croft.
“They will probably appeal against the Local Plan on the grounds that not enough land is being made available for housing – and they have got the money to fight appeals and win.
“We have got to carry on fighting, no matter what the borough council decided in their Local Plan.”
Cllr Allen will be seeking election to the borough council in the local elections next year. She will be joined by fellow Tory Wendy Maisey and together they are already consulting local residents about producing a response to the Local Plan.

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