OVER the Bank Holiday weekend, after a run through some of our beautiful countryside with my family, I wrote to leader of the council Russ Bowden and took to social media urging people to ‘PLEASE SHARE’ if they agree with these sentiments!
If we don’t stop the development of our #GreenBelt we will lose views like the one in this photograph!
Dear Russ Bowden
During a run through some of our beautiful countryside in #Warrington it gave me the opportunity to clear my head and do some blue sky thinking.
As leader of Warrington Borough Council the future of our town and our green belt is within your hands and that of your controlling Labour Group and the senior officers at the town hall.
Together you are tasked with ensuring our town provides for those in need of homes and good health together with employment opportunities.
As town’s go we are already doing better than many on various fronts.
Unemployment is relatively low and many of our jobs are filled by those who live outside the borough.
So why exactly do we have to surrender our green belt land on which we depend for the very oxygen that fills our lungs?
Over 40,000 people each year are dying from pollution related illnesses and Warrington has been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of the worst polluted town’s in the country.
So why are we even entertaining the thoughts of huge logistics developments on Green Belt land? I say entertaining because your council officers have previously recommended approval for one such distribution centre on prime green belt which was thankfully rejected by members.
But more applications are rolling in, fanned by the fact officers believe this is acceptable in a polluted town often gripped by gridlock.
Planning law, while often complicated for the common man, is quite straight forward regarding green belt – no development unless “exceptional circumstances”.
Well creating wealth while sacrificing health is far from exceptional circumstances.
Nothing in these planning applications does anything to improve our health and well being.
We have far more important issues in our town, with an out dated hospital, lack of recreational facilities and not even enough sport pitches to accommodate our existing teams and clubs.
So what is the solution, particularly in times of austerity?
Well how about borrowing some money with low cost interest rates like you already have successfully done to invest in business and commercial ventures and invest it in our green belt, buying the land under threat of development and then using it to create health and leisure facilities and park lands.
This could be matched by some crowd funding, with those who can afford to, donating money to help fund these projects.
Resident and parish council groups have already demonstrated how they can work together and raise funds to challenge these plans to develop our green belt – imagine having access to that money to preserve our green belt and invest in health and well being.
It could even be used to invest in solar energy and all weather sports pitches, which help raise additional revenue and make it sustainable.
Surely much more acceptable in our countryside than huge logistic centres putting thousands of extra vehicles on our roads and destroying our green belt for ever.
I see in the local plan it states it is only 10 per cent of our green belt being given up – but that is 10 per cent too much.
Thousands of people in our town are suffering from asthma and other health issues which are made worse by pollution.
This is not a NIMBY issue in the south – it is our whole town under threat, from Lymm through Appleton and Grappenhall, across Latchford, across the town centre and right out to Culcheth & Glazebury in the North.
The whole town needs our green lungs – and the whole town needs better health and leisure provision. There are some shining beacons at Orford Park and Great Sankey and Woolston Community hubs.
Let’s see one south of the ship canal instead of lorry parks and warehousing.
Come on Russ – you have the opportunity to leave a legacy we can all be proud of – or you can just allow the developers to continue ploughing up our fields.
Thousands of new homes have already been earmarked for green field sites, with many more and employment opportunities already planned in the town centre and brown field sites.
Let’s see how these go BEFORE we even think about building on Green Belt.
We have years ahead to meet government guidelines and we have already seen the goal posts moved on these – who is to say they won’t be moved again?
The birth rate is falling, the ageing population is starting to level off, with the first signs of people dying sooner than expected due to various health issues brought on by obesity and general unhealthy living.
Let’s put the foot on the brakes a little with all this proposed development, take a deep breath and enjoy our precious countryside so we can keep on running for years to come without breathing in more toxic fumes.
I am sure you will get the support of the vast majority of people in our town if you can look at and adopt this common sense policy.
I also call upon like minded people and politicians to take on board my concerns and act in a responsible manner and lobby for a healthy future for our town.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for those of you who agree this is a sensible option please feel free to share on your networks so the council know plenty of people out there are passionate about saving our green belt and improving our health and well being.’
Meanwhile make sure you have you say on the Local Plan CLICK HERE