Warrington’s updated Proposed Submission Version Local Plan was approved by Full Council at its meeting of Monday 4 April, meaning it will now be submitted to the Secretary of State.
This paves the way to an Examination in Public (EIP), which will be carried out by an independent Planning Inspector. While the council considers that the proposed Plan is sound, the EIP will give the Inspector the opportunity to recommend any modifications considered necessary to ensure the plan is legally compliant. It is anticipated the earliest date for the EIP will be summer or autumn 2022.
Warrington’s Local Plan aims to drive forward growth and development and help deliver the homes, jobs, transport infrastructure and community facilities the borough needs, while protecting the Green Belt as much as possible.
It aims to provide first class community facilities – new schools, medical centres, shops and roads – all of which will support thriving new communities and make Warrington an attractive place to live, work and invest in.
The plan also aims to meet the needs of a growing population and future generations, by providing enough new housing – including affordable homes - so that people who want to live here can do so, and to support an ageing population and residents with disabilities to live independently.
Warrington’s updated Local Plan has responded to some of the key issues raised by residents and businesses, with a number changes made to the previous version of the plan (published in 2019). 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).
- A reduction in 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.
- The allocation of the Fiddlers Ferry site for employment and housing, following closure of the power station in March 2020.
The Council undertook a comprehensive, six-week consultation on the Updated Plan in October 2021, including five public consultation events at Warrington Wolves’ stadium, which gave people the opportunity to discuss the plan in detail with officers and have their say.
More than 2,000 responses were received, and in responding to these by carrying out additional evidence base work, the council is confident that the Plan, provides the basis to sustainably meet Warrington’s future development needs and to meet the test of soundness, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for environment, housing and public protection, Cllr Hitesh Patel, said: “Our updated Local Plan is fully focused on driving forward Warrington’s ambition and need for development, while protecting the Green Belt wherever possible. We know how important this plan is to our future, and how vital is we get it right. That’s why we’ve listened closely to the views of local people throughout the plan’s development.
“I’m pleased that we have now reached this significant milestone. Full council approval paves the way to the submission of our plan to the Secretary of State, bringing us another step closer to the adoption of our plan.
“I believe that our plan fully meets the needs of our borough and will be effective in promoting and guiding Warrington’s future growth, along with the delivery of the social and physical infrastructure necessary to support an increasing resident and working population. I am hopeful that this view will be shared by the Planning Inspector.”
For more information, and to read the draft Local Plan, please visit warrington.gov.uk/localplan