ONE would hope the Draft Local Plan, recently approved by Warrington Borough Council is not political.
We should all care for all our Green open spaces, wherever they are, right across the borough, as they are our green lungs for a town blighted with pollution.
Despite taking on board the comments of around 4,500 local residents, the Labour controlled Borough Council has ploughed on with its plan to release around 10 per cent of Green Belt for housing and employment needs over the next 20 years.
I don’t know what crystal ball they are gazing in to, but our needs now and in 20 years could be completely different on the back of issues like Brexit, a declining birth rate and the cost of living.
In my opinion (and many others) it is far too soon to start ripping up our Green Belt for more housing and employment, when there are still plenty of infill and brownfield sites available all over Warrington.
One of the biggest concerns is the lack of infrastructure to support these developments, not just with highways but local amenities like schools, doctors, shops and leisure amenities e.t.c.
When I was growing up in Croft the village boasted a Post Office, a convenience store, a gift shop, a hairdressers as well as the local pubs.
Now four decades on with many more homes and families living in the village, the number of amenities have actually decreased, with no shops left in the village due to the way the world has changed – and who knows what changes lie ahead.
Will Brexit ever happen? Will Hs2 happen? Will pollution continue to worsen? Will our highways become even more gridlocked?
There are just too many unknowns to risk sacrificing our precious Green Belt.
I go back to my opening statement – I hope the Draft Local Plan is not politically motivated, although if you look at the way elected members voted, it was only members of the controlling Labour group who voted in favour of it and while there were six abstentions within the group, they were all members representing a certain area under threat from development at Peel Hall, which hasn’t been removed from the local plan, so it would have been a bit like turkeys voting for Christmas if they had supported it.
But again why only abstain? If you don’t believe in something vote against it and represent your electorate properly. Have courage in your convictions and stand against the party machines.
As we have been witnessing on a daily basis in national government – democracy as we know it is broken.
I have always said and I still say, politics should never come in to play at a local level.
So here is a clear message to all elected representatives – represent the people who have voted you into office – because they can quite easily vote you out come the next elections.