Warrington Borough Council’s controversial Local Plan, which aims to deliver 18,900 new homes, has been delayed until 2020.
It had been hoped it would be ready for examination before Christmas but the council says it is continuing to work on the Local Plan, which sets out the approach to meeting the borough’s future need for homes, jobs and supporting infrastructure.
The council carried out a nine-week consultation on the plan between April and June, receiving more than 3,500 representations from the public, businesses, developers and statutory bodies. All of the responses have been carefully reviewed, and the council is now carrying out additional work to respond to these.
The main focus of this work is to ensure the council is able to deliver the necessary social, health, transport and green infrastructure to support Warrington’s projected growth.
It is anticipated that it will take until the new year to complete this work. Given the importance of this work, submission of the Local Plan for examination is likely to be delayed until 2020.
Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “Warrington’s Local Plan is hugely important for the future growth, wellbeing and prosperity of our borough. We are working hard to put everything in place to ensure our plans are sound and deliverable.
“While we want the plan to be published as quickly as possible, it’s vital that we get it right. We received a huge number of responses to our draft Local Plan consultation and we have carefully considered each and every one of them. We are listening to the views of local people and others in our community.
“The responses have told us that a really important factor for residents is that the required infrastructure is put in place alongside any new developments, rather than after housing has been built. It is vital that we act upon those responses and so our key priority is to demonstrate that this can be achieved within our plan.
“We are carrying out further work with partners to demonstrate the viability of the Local Plan to ensure we can bring forward that infrastructure – including schools, roads, GPs, parks and community and cultural facilities – to match new housing.
“The months ahead will be really important as we continue with the complex, challenging work we need to do to deliver a Local Plan which fully meets the future needs of our borough.”
Warrington’s Local Plan aims to deliver 18,900 new homes (945 per year) by 2037 and make 362 hectares of employment land available – while protecting and preserving the Green Belt as much as possible.
You can find out more about the plan by visiting warrington.gov.uk/localplan.
The final decision on the Local Plan and the development it proposes will be made by the independent planning inspector, following an examination, in 2020.
The council will shortly be writing to everyone who responded to the Local Plan consultation to inform them of the anticipated timescales for the progression of the Local Plan.