WARRINGTON is “at the mercy of greedy developers” after calls for consultation on the height of proposed developments in the town centre were rejected at a meeting of the Full Council.
Labour councillors turned down a Liberal Democrat motion at the full Warrington Borough Council Meeting on Monday which would have ensured that all councillors and the public would be consulted on what should be appropriate heights for buildings in the Town Centre.
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr Bob Barr, who proposed the Motion said, “The Town Centre MasterPlan, launched by the Leader of the Council earlier this year, showed images of a high-density mid-rise Town Centre.
“This was largely uncontroversial, as maximising the amount of housing within fifteen minutes of the Town centre would take pressure off the green belt, reduce car dependency and re-vitalise the town centre. All good aims.
“However, the MasterPlan made great play of the need to design the future three-dimensional shape of the town. To this end a 3D interactive computer model of the town, to assist in planning, has been commissioned. It was used to produce many of the illustrations in the Masterplan.”
He said a “Supplementary Planning Document” on building height and design had been promised.
“This could have been consulted on and a consensus could have been reached on “How high is too high” for Warrington.
“Instead of any of this, a proposal for a 25-storey tower, as part of a “tall buildings zone” was brought to the Development Management committee with a recommendation for approval. “Councillors were told to place “little weight” on the MasterPlan or the absence of a “Supplementary Planning Document” which should have guided the committee on policy. The committee deferred the decision.
Cllr Barr added: “Had the motion at Council been approved, the production of this document would have been prioritised and the Development Management Committee would have been able to take account of the emerging policy when determining planning applications. Now we are at the mercy of greedy developers who want to replicate Liverpool and Manchester’s high-rise skylines in Warrington.”