AFTER more than 30 years of campaigning Save Peel Hall campaigners have been left “devastated and stunned” after losing a public inquiry over a proposed 1,200 housing development in the area.
Following a lengthy public inquiry, the appeal inspector has ruled that Satnam Developments can have outline permission for the development, with her decision upheld by the secretary for state, Michael Gove.
Local residents Wendy Johnson-Taylor, a leading light in the Save Peel Hall Campaign Group said: “We are utterly devasted and stunned. There are no words in the Thesaurus that can adequately describe how we feel right now. We are just numb.
“This decision will have a devastating impact on North Warrington, and the rest of our town, in a truly disastrous way. The stability of where we live will be shattered. Our lives will never be the same again and we lose an important, vital green space that has given us cleaner air, wonderful wildlife and peace for decades. We also lose another valued green amenity in Ballater playing fields – to make way for more houses and an access that is woefully inadequate to serve this Frankenstein monster of a scheme.
“Our residents’ health will see no protection from noise and air pollution that will be generated by this nightmare development. I fear more people will suffer from the effects of this and unfortunately, we know, that unacceptable levels add to unnecessary premature deaths, and as for the future highway network’s stability, well that has well and truly been stamped on. The future will witness sheer chaos on our road’s day in, day out”.
“As campaigners and Inquiry Rule 6 Party members could not have done any more. We were up against crazy planning legislation and guidelines that favour the developer and not the people. The decision is wrong, it should never come to this sad and sorry state of affairs. I fear the worse for where we live right now. I am completely torn apart”.
“All I can say is we did our best. We’ve fought for over 30 years. It’s been hard slog. I can only thank our key members and Rule 6 stalwarts Jim Sulivan, Margaret Steen, Jon Parr, Geoff Settle, Dave Sawyer, planning consultant Peter Black and campaigner Ste Dodd. They have all been selfless pillars of our community for years. We have been followed and supported by hundreds of amazing residents; all I can say to them is our heartfelt thanks. I am so sorry, from the bottom of my heart, that we couldn’t stop this nightmare from rolling forward, but we can assure them that our involvement will not end here as we intend to work closely with the council and the developers to make sure we get the best that we can possibly achieve for Peel Hall and our community.”
Former Mayor of Warrington and Green Party activist Geoff Settle added: “As far as performances go over the last 30 years this was by far the strongest performance yet. We deconstructed the arguments, and each member took a specialist topic to argue against the proposal. We made it non-political and focused on the technical arguments. We were not restricted by political point scoring but focused on challenging all the issues without the constraints that other parties were under”.
Another campaigner Jim Sullivan added: “This isn’t a simple ‘yes’ decision, it comes with significant protections. We call on Warrington Borough Council to meet with the local community at the earliest opportunity so that we can discuss how these protections will be managed”.
Campaign Group Member Ste Dodd concluded: “This is a dark day for North Warrington. The loss of Peel Hall will forever have a profound and detrimental affect on the well-being of its residents, it highlights how far away the people in power are from reality and the real people of this country”.
Landowner Satnam was seeking outline planning permission for a 1,200 home multi-use neighbourhood. The appeal inquiry came after the developer was successful in obtaining a High Court ruling.