The major planning applications to build 770 houses on Homes and Community Agency Land in Grappenhall and Appleton were deferred by Warrington’s Development Management Committee on Wednesday night. This followed sustained pressure from Liberal Democrat Councillors led by Ryan Bate, Judith Wheeler and Bob Barr, to ensure that the community has a say on how these areas are developed and what infrastructure must be in place before new homes are occupied.
“It is quite wrong for major planning applications to be timetabled together with minor applications in a long agenda. These two applications, which will determine the character of the area for generations to come, were slotted in as the last two items on a thirteen-item agenda. The Town Hall couldn’t accommodate the hundreds of interested residents who wanted to attend the meeting and the many who wanted to speak.” says Bob Barr.
“Most residents accept that development is inevitable. They know that this land has been earmarked for development, but they have every right to expect a proper consultation and a proper vision of how the area will develop sustainably. They need reassurance that essential road infrastructure will be in place to ensure that, already overloaded, roads are not grid-locked when new residents move in. They need to know that school places, medical facilities shops and community facilities will all be provided to serve the expanded population before houses are occupied. They need to know where the new residents are likely to work or go to school and that unnecessary car travel is going to be minimised. The current outline applications give few of those assurances and lack detail.”
“We have asked for these applications to be heard in a larger venue such as the Pyramid or Parr Hall, as has been done regularly for major applications North of the Ship Canal. Time must be allowed for more speakers and proper debate so the decisions on the applications can be as transparent as possible. If Warrington is to make a success of its future ambitious growth, the Council must listen to, and trust, the community as was done when the New Town was built a generation ago.”