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Have your say on updated draft Local Plan

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Consultation is under way on Warrington’s draft Local Plan, to ensure the borough has the homes, jobs, transport infrastructure and community facilities it needs.

Local people are being invited to have their say on the updated draft Local Plan – otherwise known as the Proposed Submission Version Local Plan, by taking part in the six-week public consultation, which begins on Monday 4 October and runs until Monday 15 November.

The consultation period will give everyone in Warrington the opportunity to have their say on the updated plan, by completing an online response form at warrington.gov.uk/local plan

People can also get involved by attending one of the five consultation events being held at the south stand concourse of the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Mike Gregory Way, WA2 7NE, on the following dates:

•             Tuesday 12 October - (2pm until 8pm)

•             Thursday 14 October - (8am until 2pm)

•             Saturday 16 October - (10am until 4pm)

•             Monday 18 October - (2pm until 8pm)

•             Wednesday 20 October - (8am until 2pm)

The council received more than 3,000 responses to its initial, 20-year Proposed Submission Version Local Plan in 2019, and has taken on board many of the views of local people, much of which focused on how brownfield sites should continue to be prioritised ahead of Green Belt.

This, along with the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and changing Government housing methodology, has meant that, in preparing the updated Proposed Submission Version Local Plan, the council is proposing some big changes. 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% of the total amount of Green Belt land in the borough. This is significantly lower than the 1,210 hectares proposed in the previous Proposed Submission Version Local Plan which equated to 11% of the total amount of Green Belt.

•             The removal of the South West Urban Extension from the Plan (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), and instead including new proposals for a South East Warrington Urban Extension, with a reduced allocation of 2,400 new homes during the plan period.

•             The removal of Port Warrington (75ha employment land) and the Business Hub (25ha employment land) from the plan.

•             In addition, recent changes have enabled the council to include proposals which further maximise the opportunity to repurpose land, through the inclusion of the Fiddlers Ferry site for development. The closure of the power station in March 2020 has given the council the opportunity to bring the site into the allocation this time. This site was the subject of a high number of responses to our previous consultation.

Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “Warrington’s updated Local Plan is fully focused on driving forward the future housing and infrastructure needs of our borough, while protecting the Green Belt wherever possible. Throughout the development of the plan, we’ve listened and responded to public feedback, and this will continue. It’s vital that the plan continues to be shaped by the people of Warrington.

“We are committed to giving everyone the chance to have their say - and this new period of consultation will provide many opportunities for people to engage with us, ask questions and share their views.

“I would urge everyone who wants their voices heard to get involved in the process, whether through completing the online consultation form, or attending one of the drop-in events at the Halliwell Jones stadium during October.”

As in 2019, the consultation will focus on specific questions on whether the Plan is ‘legal’, ‘sound’ and whether the Council has fulfilled its ‘duty to cooperate’. These are the key issues that the independent planning inspector, appointed by the Government, will consider when assessing the Local Plan.

The consultation has been framed in this way to meet the requirements of the Planning Inspectorate, so responding by completing the online form is the best way to ensure that your representation on the Local Plan is as effective as possible.

You can get a range of support on completing the updated Proposed Submission Version Local Plan online form, as well as information and guidance about ‘the legal requirements’, the ‘duty to cooperate’, and the ‘tests of soundness’ at warrington.gov.uk/localplan