FOLLOWING on from the controversial decision to allow planning permission to build 1,200 homes on green fields at Peel Hall, which has left campaigners devastated and heartbroken, the political blame game has now started.
Labour’s Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols has slammed Tory Housing Secretary Michael Gove’s decision to “concrete over Peel Hall,” while her Conservative General Election opponent Cllr. Wendy Maisey, has accused Labour-controlled Warrington Borough Council of “betraying residents.”
The Housing Secretary decided to grant planning permission to Satnam Millennium Limited to build 1,200 houses on the Peel Hall site, supporting the recommendation of a Government inspector following a lengthy appeal.
Ms. Nichols said: “This decision by Michael Gove to grant Satnam permission to build 1,200 houses on Peel Hall is a complete slap in the face for local residents.
“For over 30 years residents in Warrington North have fought tooth and nail to save Peel Hall from development.
“Peel Hall is a very valuable piece of green open space that provides a natural barrier between the M62 and the established residential development to the south.
“Warrington Borough Council has rejected many applications over the years from Satnam to develop this site and subsequent appeals have been rejected.
“The case to protect this green open space remains overwhelming. The only thing that has changed is the Government no longer agrees with local residents.
“Local residents are rightly concerned that building 1,200 houses on Peel Hall means valuable open space will be lost forever, it will increase traffic congestion, worsen our air quality, adversely affect public health, reduce the daily enjoyment of local lives, dramatically change the character of the area and put even more pressure on all our local services.
“To make matters even worse Michael Gove agrees. In his letter announcing his decision to grant the planning application he accepts that many of the local concerns are genuinely founded.
“Astonishingly, Michael Gove states the ecology and wildlife interest of the site would not be unduly harmed by the development. When in fact it will be destroyed.
“One of the worst aspects of Mr Gove’s decision is his dismissal of objections on the grounds of Climate Change. In doing this he puts the needs for development above any concerns about the impact of that development on Climate Change.
“This comes at the very same time the UK is hosting the world COP 26 gathering seeking to gain international agreement on effective action to tackle Climate Change.
“After more than 30 years of campaigning by the local community to protect Peel Hall, the Tory Secretary of State is allowing this valuable piece of open green space to be concreted over.
“Like my constituents, I am deeply disappointed by this decision. I will be writing to the Secretary of State to raise my many concerns about his decision and I intend to raise this matter on the floor of the House of Commons.”
Meanwhile Cllr. Maisey, speaking on behalf of Warrington Conservative Federation, said that residents in and around the Peel Hall site had been “betrayed by the Council.”
Cllr. Maisey, the former Parliamentary Candidate for Warrington North said: “It is understandable that residents have been left devastated and stunned that the plans to build 1,200 houses in the area have been given the go-ahead.
“At the September full council meeting I pleaded with the Council to remove the proposal from the Local Plan but that suggestion came with stiff opposition when I was told that the best way to protect Peel Hall was to keep it in the local plan. “Only last month during his speech at Conservative Party Conference the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he doesn’t want to see building on greenfield sites.”
“I’d like to pay tribute to Ste Dodd, Wendy Johnson-Taylor and all of the campaigners who have worked tirelessly to prevent this development being given the green light. Their grit, determination and dignity makes them a credit to our community. I had the pleasure to meet with them during the 2019 Election campaign and conveyed my support for their group and for keeping Peel Hall undeveloped.
“I feel that the Peel Hall development will have a negative impact on the ward I represent of Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft. Any residents who do have concerns should contact us straight away.
Meanwhile, in response to the appeal, a spokesperson for Satnam said: “We are pleased with the considered and fair decision of the Inspector and Secretary of State. The housing needs of Warrington are acute, and Peel Hall can now begin to make its long-overdue contribution towards remedying this deficiency. We look forward to working with the Council Officers to bring this important site forward as soon as practicable.”