Contact: Ian Marks (01925 753051) Cliff Taylor (07764 195971)
Date: 18 June 2020
PARISHES UNITED IN FIGHTING OVER-DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH
Parish Councils in the south of the town continue to fight the plans for over development in South Warrington.
By working together, the Councils believe their voices will carry more weight to change the proposals that are opposed by the vast majority of residents.
Chairman of the Parish Councils Local Plan Working Group Cllr Cliff Taylor says, “Our most immediate task is to oppose Stobart’s plan to build a large logistics site on land north of Barleycastle Lane in Appleton Thorn. The first application by the company was turned down by Warrington Council but then Stobarts submitted a second one with hardly any changes. The Council did a U-turn and recommended approval of the second one but this was blocked by the Secretary of State. There was a public enquiry last October which considered both applications and the Inspector’s report was submitted to the Secretary of State in December. A few weeks ago we heard this had been ‘called-in’ by the Secretary of State for him to make a decision.
We are taking advice from both our planning and legal advisers and will be sending a letter urging him to turn it down. It is ‘premature’ and any land release should wait for the Local Plan. Secondly there are no ‘very special circumstances’ to justify the use of Green Belt land. The world has changed since the autumn. Due to the pandemic, the economy is in a dreadful state. Working patterns, travel and the retail sector are all very different. Interest in climate change has grown enormously and new brownfield sites have become available. In particular Fiddlers Ferry has now closed down. In such a fluid situation, it would be wrong to press ahead with the Stobart’s application. It should wait for the Local Plan to be agreed.
We understand that the next version of the Local Plan will not be published until sometime in the autumn. This will delay the whole timetable. Our view remains that the Plan is unsound and not deliverable. In view of the changes mentioned above, this is even more the case than it was before. The housing numbers are much too high and there needs to be more emphasis on building on brownfield sites and not destroying vast areas of green space. We have no confidence that the necessary infrastructure would be provided.
The Parish Councils are united in their opposition and will do everything in their powers to help achieve a sustainable Local Plan that is acceptable to residents,”