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Council considers appealing against Pincher ruling on 1,200 homes

Words: Laura Edgar
Warrington / Shutterstock_1714392859

Warrington Borough Council is seeking legal advice on housing minister Christopher Pincher’s decision to approve plans to build a neighbourhood of up to 1,200 homes.

Satnam Millennium’s scheme, for land at Peel Hall in Warrington, also includes a local centre comprising a food store of up to 2,000 square metres, units for non-residential institutions of up to 600 square metres in total, a family restaurant or pub, and a site for a primary school as well as open space and sports pitches.

Housing secretary Michael Gove delegated the decision to Pincher. The council has six weeks to appeal against the decision.

Russ Bowden, leader of Warrington Borough Council, noted that for a number of years, the council has “robustly rejected” a series of planning applications at Peel Hall.  

In February 2017, a 1,200-home application was refused by the council, which led to a public inquiry in mid-2018. After the council defended its position, Satnam Millennium took legal action at the High Court, which was successful. The decision was made that the application should be considered by a planning inspector on behalf of the housing secretary, an inquiry for which began in September 2020.

Bowden explained: “At every step we have worked very closely with Peel Hall residents and supported them to produce evidence to support their arguments. We have been continually resolute and, as a result, we have spent a considerable amount of taxpayers’ money preventing inappropriate development.

“Regarding why Peel Hall had to be included in the latest draft local plan, this was done on legal advice, as not to include it would be a possible threat to a further legal challenge by Satnam. Our external professional advice has always been that the best way to protect Peel Hall, and to control any proposed development, is through the framework of the local plan.

“We are very concerned and angry that, despite our continued rebuttal, the decision to allow development has now been made by the secretary of state, and we share the frustrations of our local campaign groups. We have referred the matter for consideration to our Queen’s Counsel and we await their views on the legal options available to us. I thank the Peel Hall residents and campaigners for their work over many years to protect it from development and to resist the determined efforts of Satnam.”

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Recovered: Government backs 1,200 home extension to Warrington 

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