A Tory election candidate is calling on Warrington Borough Council to end the delay in the completion of its Local Plan.
In a letter to the Labour Leader of the Council Cllr. Russ Bowden, the prospective Councillor for Appleton, Ken Critchley, says the plan needs updating in light of the major reforms which were announced by the government last March.
The council announced it was delaying the plan last October due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with a view to resuming it this summer.
At the time the draft document involved plans to build 18,900 new homes at a rate of 945 a year to 2037 with in excess of 7,000 homes in Warrington South earmarked for green belt land.
Ken said: “An integral part of Warrington’s vision over the next 20 years is the Local Plan. I have no doubt that Council officers are working tirelessly at this time to support residents and others, but clarity is needed on its
timeline and we can no longer afford to drag our heals when it comes to building more affordable homes and creating jobs.”
He says this comes as the government consulted on introducing a new 30-month statutory timetable for the development of Local Plans – with the current process being inconsistent and taking seven years on average, by which time many towns have
progressed and challenges are different.
He also called on Council officials and the Leader to ensure the Fiddlers Ferry site North of the River Mersey is given full consideration within the plans.
Ken added: “Critically it is important that the Local Plan is progressed at pace and reflects the challenges that we face today, such as protecting our green belt and making provisions for sites like Fiddlers Ferry.
This area has huge potential, and I am informed by Andy Carter MP who has spoken to SSE and they are well underway with the decommissioning, removing the chimneys and allocating back to both industrial and housing needs for the local
area. I’m pleased to hear that the Council are now in conversation with them in regard to bringing this site forward, and I would welcome an update.
“We were however promised that the Local Plan would be finalised in 2020, with a clear vision of what land would become available for future use throughout Warrington. As it currently stands the plan makes few references to Fiddlers
Ferry and other brownfield sites as future options. We cannot ignore the huge development potential these sites present for our town, and the role they can play in minimising the need to build on the green belt.
“We both share an ambition to raise living standards and create jobs across Warrington, and I hope we can work together in making this happen through the Local Plan.”