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Warrington sets out updates to local plan

Words: Laura Edgar
Warrington / Shutterstock: 1035216271

Warrington Borough Council has outlined how it plans to update its proposed local plan ahead of consideration by the full council.

The council's initial proposed submission version of the local plan was published in March 2019 and then consulted on. It has been revised to cover an 18-year period - 2021-2038 - rather than 20 years.

It received more than 3,000 responses, the majority of which stated that brownfield land should continue to be prioritised over green belt land, the council explained.

These views, alongside the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the government's changing method for calaculating housing targets, have seen a number of changes proposed for the local plan. These include: 

  • A reduction in new housing from 945 a year over 20 years, to 816 a year over a reduced plan period of 18 years (2021-2038 inclusive).
  • Under the updated plan, the amount of land proposed to be removed from the green belt is 580 hectares, equating to 5 per cent of the total amount of green belt land in the borough. This has been reduced from 1,210 hectares. 
  • Removing the South West Urban Extension (1,600 homes), the housing allocation for Phipps Lane in Burtonwood Village (160 homes) and the Massey Brook Lane site in Lymm (66 homes).
  • Moving away from the garden suburb concept in South Warrington (4,200 new homes) to proposals for a South East Warrington Urban Extension, with a reduced allocation of 2,400 new homes during the plan period.
  • Removing Port Warrington (75 hectares of employment land) and the Business Hub (25 hectares of employment land) from the plan.

Warrington Borough Council leader Russ Bowden, said: “Our proposed local plan will shape Warrington’s future and it’s vital we get it right. We remain absolutely committed to driving forward Warrington’s ambition and need for development, while protecting green belt wherever possible.

“In developing our local plan, Warrington, like all local authorities, must meet the minimum housing figures set by the Government. However, a lot has changed since we initially consulted in 2019, not least the Covid-19 pandemic, along with confirmation of the government’s housing methodology and local decisions such as our declarations of climate and ecological emergencies.

“Our updated plan takes all of this into account while, vitally, addressing many of the issues raised during our public consultation in 2019. We have listened to the views of local people, and acted upon them, and I believe this is reflected in the new plan.

“We are proposing a number of major changes, including a reduction in the number of new houses and a reduced plan period, from 20 years to 18 years. This, in turn, will mean a reduced need for green belt allocation."

Bowden believes the updated plan is the "right fit" for Warrington's future.

The cabinet will consider the plan at its meeting today (13 September). If approved, the plan will be put before the full council on 20 September for approval. The plan would then go out for a six-week public consultation.

More information about the local plan can be found on the Warrington Local Plan.

Image credit | Shutterstock