Warrington outlines plans to release green belt land for 9,000 homes

A Cheshire authority is set to consult on proposals to release land from the green belt to deliver around 9,000 new homes and 250 hectares of employment space, two years after the High Court quashed its adopted plan's housing policies.

Warrington: preferred development option consultation to begin next week
Warrington: preferred development option consultation to begin next week

Warrington Borough Council’s executive board this week approved plans for a consultation on its Local Plan Preferred Development Option, which sets out the authority’s proposed approach to meeting Warrington’s need for new homes and jobs up to 2037.

A council spokesman said that the consultation is due to begin on Tuesday 18 July and last for eight weeks.

A report to the executive board explained that the council had commenced work on reviewing the existing local plan - adopted in July 2014 - after a 2015 High Court ruling had quashed the plan’s housing target and housing policies.

The report said that, to meet Warrington’s development needs, the plan needs to allocate sufficient land for around 24,000 new homes and 381 hectares of employment space.

But it added that an updated strategic housing land availability assessment had concluded that the existing urban area can only accommodate approximately 15,000 extra homes.

"Despite maximising the amount of development within the existing urban area, it is apparent that if Warrington is to meet its development aspirations, it can only do so through the release of green belt land," the report said.

"In total, land will need to be released from the green belt to accommodate approximately 9,000 homes."

The report said that the council could only accommodate 130 hectares of employment space within existing urban areas, leaving a green belt requirement of 251 hectares.

The council’s Local Plan Preferred Development Option identifies a "garden city suburb" - a south eastern extension of Warrington provide around 6,000 homes over the plan period - as one of four main areas of growth.

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