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HCA rethink for South Warrington - Lib Dem farce!

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Sha    113

South Warrington Lib Dem's have a 'campaign' on Facebook to protest against the proposed developments at Appleton Cross (planning application number 2017/29930) and Grappenhall (planning application number 2017/29929). 

The Lib Dems have aided developers set the infrastructure in place in anticipation of these developments by supplying 100 extra pupil places at Stockton Heath Primary - it was the Lib Dem administration that overturned the original decision not to demolish and rebuild the old school - despite the fact that there were already 900 surplus primary places within a 2 mile radius. 

Stockton Heath Village has been 're-imaged' - more updated infrastructure in place and a 'selling point'.

 Also, an attempt was made by Lib Dem Councillor's to have a medical centre built on the open space/playing fields Bridge Lane - which if it hadn't been opposed by local residents would have meant the public paying the costs and enabled HCA's developers to get out of including one in these proposals.

Also note, that with just one day to go before the development control meeting no-one from this so called 'campaign group' has yet registered to speak against either of these applications and Judith Wheeler, so called,  'leader of the campaign', who due to her involvement will not be able to vote, has not up to yet arranged a substitution for her seat on the development control committee!

What a farce! this 'campaign' looks to be nothing other than a publicity stunt by political careerists! 

It will be interesting to see whether any 'opposition' they put up is actually relevant!

 

 

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Sha    113

With less than 24hrs before the meeting Judith Wheeler & Co managed to get requests to speak in.  Wow! what commitment! :rolleyes:

It will be interesting to hear what they have to say and more interesting to see what they don't!

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Evil Sid    228

As a veteran and minutes secretary of many meetings i can assure you dizz that even if they had been able to and talked for seven hours they would not have said anything.

The last meeting i had to take minute for was a half hour update meeting for a project. six hours later the meeting was wound up with instruction to carry on with it the next day. I called in sick.:shock:

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4 hours ago, Evil Sid said:

As a veteran and minutes secretary of many meetings i can assure you dizz that even if they had been able to and talked for seven hours they would not have said anything.

The last meeting i had to take minute for was a half hour update meeting for a project. six hours later the meeting was wound up with instruction to carry on with it the next day. I called in sick.:shock:

Don't worry Sid each person would only have got 5 minutes each.

The Town Hall can't cope with many people - so perhaps the campaign leader should have noticed democratic services about the approximate number that would be attending.

At least the chair had the sense to defer the meeting and not as one a year or so ago where the meeting went ahead while extra residents were told to go home - I was speaking on their behalf and nearly got turfed out :angry: but that's another story and it wasn't a planning meeting.

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Dizzy    293

Some years ago I attended a few planning/dev control meetings there where more than expected turned up.  Many people had to stand in the foyer where the proceedings were relayed over a tannoy system so they could hear.  Not ideal by a long shot but they never cancelled. 

I guess the council never know how many people might turn up though as it's all well and good people voicing their concerns on social media and the like.  They should have known there would be a lot of opposition to this though and a bigger turn out.

I think the chairman did right to postpone the meeting so that a bigger venue could be used.

I wasn't at the meeting so I don't know the answer as to who really called for it to be postponed.  I did however just see this comment reply from Clr Bob Barr on the Nextdoor website (used to be called Streetlife) where he says says, and I quote......

"Robert Barr from Lymm Statham · 7h ago

At the insistence of three LD Councillors and the arrival of far more members of the public than the Town Hall could accommodate the items were deferred and will be heard in a larger venue at another time, details to be provided"

what do you recon Sha :lol:

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Sha    113

I've also been to meetings where the chambers,back room, and foyer were jam-packed and even with people standing outside on the balcony and steps in foul weather - which were not cancelled.

Whatever, the delay will give the Lib Dem councillors more time to think of something to say - only registering to speak by the skin of their teeth didn't give the impression they would be well prepared,  it should also give Judith Wheeler time to arrange a substitute. Plus a repeat 'performance' and at a bigger venue will give them more publicity!

I heard the chairman cited H&S reasons, so maybe rules have tightened up more recently. 

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Sha    113

A poster on the News page says the protesters are not objecting to development so long as the infrastructure is in place. Whilst this is the stance of Appleton's councillors it doesn't really reflect the views of the local population. I've copied my reply on here to save me writing out the same points again.

They’re not objecting to the homes, they’re arguing that the infrastructure needs to be improved to make them work. ……………………………………..

Not quite right Mark, most protesters don't want any more housing on what remains of Appleton/Grappenhall's green fields but they are being led to believe by local Lib Dem councillor 'campaigners' that this land has been 'predestined' to be developed and that it is not worth objecting to the proposed developments and thus the best they can strive for is to secure adequate infrastructure.

This is utter baloney! These areas were classed 'strategic development' sites - only to be used for development if there were no other areas available to enable the housing targets to be met. Since Satnam's challenge to the planning dept's cocked up long term plans 'strategic development' classifications have been removed. However, this does not change the fact that this is green land and should still be considered for development secondary to brownfield etc. Warrington needs lower cost, affordable housing and not more 4/5 bedroom 'aspirational' 500k residences and there is more than enough land available elsewhere - Arpley Meadows, Omega, etc etc where housing developments would be beneficial.

Warrington planning dept have been allowing development vastly over target for years so that to fulfil the housing quota to 2027 we should only have to be building under 400 units per year. Now the cumulative calculation slate has been wiped clean and the past overdevelopment no longer applies to the target figures, so we do have to supply a higher quota per year. Whatever, there are plenty of other sites which should be considered before green land is destroyed.

The last round of developments in Appleton/Grappenhall were allowed to be completed without the infrastructure to properly support them. This infrastructure should be put in place now but without us being blackmailed into accepting any further housing.

What people should be protesting about is a planning dept not fit for purpose, a council that gives money to housing associations to build affordable homes outside of our borough but most of all about misleading political careerists.

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Confused52    10

Sha,

You should note the following paragraph from the Planning Supporting Statement which can be found in Section 15 of the planning documents for application 2017/29929, LAND OFF WITHERWIN AVENUE under the title "Planning Policy Statement".

"It is not the intention of the HCA, at this stage, to invoke their powers as ‘Development Corporation’ under the New Towns Act for this Site, preferring to seek planning consent under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (England and Wales) Act 1990. However, this deemed consent in relation to the Site remains as a full material consideration in considering this outline application for development of new homes on the land."

(Final paragraph of section 3.1.2, Page 8 )

The other application (2017/29930, LAND BOUNDED BY GREEN LANE & DIPPING BROOK AVENUE) contains the same text in the at the same logical location but this time on Page 7.

As explained in the Officers reports Planning permission granted by the Secretary of State under the New Towns Act does not expire in the normal way, it remains in perpetuity, Furthermore the Act which established the HCA grants it the New Towns Act powers to grant detailed planning permission without the agreement of the Local Authority. The text quoted above, including "at this stage" is a very clear threat to use their powers to create the affordable houses that are their current objective. That outcome is the fall-back position if WBC refuse permission, the HCA do not require WBCs permission for the same purpose as described in the Section 7(2) application to the then Secretary of State. Some HCA applications in the past such as Bloor Homes at Westbrook did not have valid Section 7(2) but those you are concerned with appear to be going to happen.

This development is a residual part of the New Town plan and the public enquiry phase under New Towns Act powers was back in the 1980s. You may despise the Lib-Dems but they are right about the site being pre-destined for development and the government, Labour or Tory, will push ahead with this scheme through the HCA. Get everything you can from the HCA now, it will go ahead.

 

 

 

 

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Sha    113

Confused52

Why do you suppose that HCA are   "preferring to seek planning consent under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (England and Wales) Act 1990"

Do you think it could be anything to do with the fact that the original agreement as 'Development Corporation under the New Town Act'  included details of the infrastructure that they were to provide should it become necessary to develop this land?  Infrastructure such as the Howshoots Link and the South Warrington Distributor road, additional crossing over the Ship Canal, community facilities including shops a medial centre additional classrooms etc. etc. etc.

Their 'deemed consent' goes hand in hand with the original infrastructure obligations which also remain as 'full material considerations'. As is also the fact that this land was meant to be  'held in reserve'.

Their preference to seek planning permission under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 are an attempt to get out of their obligations, as is the splitting of these sites.

As a 'guardian' of public land one would expect the HCA to be setting an example in ethics and not behaving like a wily developer. 

As I see it HCA are treading a very shaky path  and so too are Warrington planners.

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Confused52    10

From what I have seen the New Town Applications did not contain such detail as that was at the New Town outline plan level. I have not looked at the applications for this area myself, have you? The format use by the New Town was nothing like normal planning applications. I fear that your desire that the infrastructure is a full material consideration is only true if it said so on the face of the application approved of state; which will have been an application  for the compulsory purchase, which is why it is deemed consent rather than actual consent since the SoS approved the CPO for the reasons in the application.

My own guess would be that they do not have the wherewithal to do the equivalent of full planning/reserved matters themselves unless pushed and would prefer the council to do it if possible.

They are not acting like a wily developer, they are usually the most responsible developer, but they have public policy objectives of building more affordable housing. Much as I detest Warrington planners I don't think they have much choice in this one. 

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Sha    113

"the most responsible developer"  Confused52 are you confused, deluded or do have links with them? 

Bewsey Old Hall, a first example that springs to mind. 

 

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Confused52    10

I guess you can always find an example that you don't like but I approach the subject without prejudice and I have observed that large housing developments pushed by them are generally better designed than those by Miller or Wilson/Barratt etc. Your opinion on a specialist building with massive constraints is not a useful comparator for what South Warrington is faced with which are large housing developments. I stand by my comment, I am not deluded and have absolutely no association to them or any developer of any kind, if I had I would have declared them.

 

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Sha    113

Confused52,

My comment was on your description of HACA as 'the most responsible developer'.  You say you 'approach the subject without prejudice', - perhaps also without much knowledge?  

Re Bewsey Old Hall. The 'constraints' were  lifted  and the Hall which should have merited 'specialist building' works was in effect 'gutted and stuffed'! Whilst HACA - who supposedly are to promote social/affordable housing turned down the offer of a housing association to build family homes and instead chose yuppie type apartments as their 'enabling development' - which looked like rabbit hutches on stilts and totally ruined the setting of the Hall.  There was no proper consideration for wildlife in the plans and the inspector forced them to delay developments until bat roosts had been built.  Incidentally, this didn't solve the problem of the bats as they wouldn't settle in the new roosts and it wasn't until after an unfortunate arson attack on the farmhouse part of the Hall where the bats roosted that building finally went ahead.  Personally, I would have expected a 'responsible developer' who stated they were paying £25k per year on security to have been able to prevent such an incident. I also would have expected them to try hard to supply the type of affordable housing which was needed most in the area - how far they went in any effort to do this I could not fathom as details on their procurement procedure were refused. - so not exactly 'open & transparent' either! 

You say " large housing developments pushed by them are generally better designed than those by Miller or Wilson/Barratt etc."   Try googling Bloor Homes - there's quite a number of negative write ups from people who have bought homes from them. So I don't really agree with your statement, however I think your choice of the word 'pushed' is interesting!

When you emphasize that you are 'without prejudice', it appears you are suggesting that I am prejudiced.  I admit that I am, but only due to knowledge of their past workings, some of which I believe to have been detrimental to our town. Under their previous names of Commission for New Town and English Partnerships they, in my opinion, failed to deliver the benefits which were supposed to result from the 'New Towns' project - sustainable communities where people could live and work with reduced need to travel to work, with pleasant surroundings and good community facilities where people would enjoy to live.  Doesn't sound much like Warrington does it? South side of the town are large dormitory estates for people who, lacking high paid employment opportunities in Warrington travel long distances to work in surrounding cities. North side of the town people travel from outlying areas to work in poorer paid employment of which there are increasing numbers of opportunities without sufficient affordable housing to support the workers needed. The cultural contributions promised to the town never materialised, Walton Hall and Bewsey Old Hall were supposed to become heritage/Arts centres. Due to neglect and refusal of the promised money Walton Hall fell into disrepair a large section of it had to be demolished in the 1970's, the sad fate of Bewsey Old Hall has already been mentioned.  Peel Hall was sold off to Satnam etc. etc. 

 Some of the estates built by Commission for New Town were decent housing with generous open space but considering the money available to CNT at the time it would have been a scandal if they weren't. South Warrington didn't do so very well with regards to infrastructure and to this day the promised roads, medical and community facilities have not materialised and to add insult to injury they are now trying to build even more housing whilst attempting to side-step their obligations to provide basic infrastructure.!  HACA  is certainly not what I would describe as "the most responsible developer"!    

  

 

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Confused52    10

Without much knowledge ... the obligatory insult in early then. I made a point about scheme design in New Town schemes, your point was about construction I think. I am not convinced it was relevant to my point which you clearly refuse to accept. I give in.

You complain about the lack of completion of the road schemes and facilities and cite that at a reason for your prejudice against the HCA and its predecessors. You also complain about lack of delivery on their mission - sustainable communities etc. Well the notions of sustainable communities were not really around when they did the master planning were they? Nevertheless the way in which they designed the new town areas in Warrington particularly Westbrook and Birchwood was intended as being self contained and similar to the Urban Village of today. In the case of Warrington you will no doubt be upset to hear that I believe the overall plan was destroyed by the Borough Council and could never recover. The fundamental plan relied on connecting the New Town areas by expressways which could ultimately dual-carriageways allowing the Town Centre pinch points to be by-passed for travel between employment and residential. The plans were part promoted by the New Town and part by the Highway Authority. The North South Expressway plan was destroyed by objections, which I think included the Borough Council and we all still long for the new High Level Canal Crossing. However the North South Expressway connected to the Northern Expressway from Westbrook, and later Westwood (now Omega) and Birchwood. This stopped the M62 being used as a ring road but the Northern Expressway was objected to by WBC once again as not needed. The Expressways were to cater for a population of up to 215 000 we are now at 205 000 without the expressways and instead have the crippling congestion we all endure.

To build the new roads in South Warrington that were intended to feed into the North-South Expressway would have been stupid. The council abandoned the Howshoots link in the UDP of 2006 at the same time as not permitting encouraging development of the rest of the New Town land in South Warrington. What was built seemed to have been intended to attract buyers who would use the M56 to get to work rather than the rest of the New Town employment sites which were not easily accessible because of the loss of the North South Expressway.

I am afraid that it is really the Borough Council with their short term introspective view, which always put the North and especially Orford/Dallam first, which is the real villain of the piece. You seem to have expectations of the New Town as if they had unlimited money. I don't think that they did other than for creating the social housing. For the rest, the money seemed to come from land disposal so no houses being build meant no roads - and doubly so for things like Walton Hall. The New Town's purpose was to increase the size of Warrington by building Houses and Employment spaces, the rest was nice to have.

I said "pushed" of the HCA, perhaps promoted might be better.

I don't know why you prefer do put the blame on HCA rather than WBC but the evidence is clear and I am afraid that the inability of Warrington folk  to critically examine WBCs performance over the years has a lot to do with where we are today, stuck with a short term muddling plan with no aspiration. The New City tosh is just a plan to increase council tax and Business rate take without any fix for the transport problems. WBC have learnt nothing.

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Sha    113
On ‎02‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 1:04 PM, Confused52 said:

......The fundamental plan relied on connecting the New Town areas by expressways which could ultimately dual-carriageways allowing the Town Centre pinch points to be by-passed for travel between employment and residential. The plans were part promoted by the New Town and part by the Highway Authority. The North South Expressway plan was destroyed by objections, which I think included the Borough Council and we all still long for the new High Level Canal Crossing.......

If I remember rightly, the main obstacle was 'who was going to pay for it?'

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Sha    113
On ‎02‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 1:04 PM, Confused52 said:

 .....The council abandoned the Howshoots link in the UDP of 2006 at the same time as not permitting encouraging development of the rest of the New Town land in South Warrington.....

Abandoned at the same time because all part and parcel of the same NT 'permissions'.

The reason HCA 'prefer' not to use the original NT permissions is because they prefer not to pay for the Howshoots link!

Any material changes to the original permissions, means they have to make a fresh planning application. The only way the original NT permissions would still be valid is if the plans hadn't changed and the Howshoot's link was still included. 

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Sha    113
On ‎02‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 1:04 PM, Confused52 said:

 

I am afraid that it is really the Borough Council with their short term introspective view, which always put the North and especially Orford/Dallam first, which is the real villain of the piece. You seem to have expectations of the New Town as if they had unlimited money. I don't think that they did other than for creating the social housing. For the rest, the money seemed to come from land disposal so no houses being build meant no roads - and doubly so for things like Walton Hall. The New Town's purpose was to increase the size of Warrington by building Houses and Employment spaces, the rest was nice to have.

I think the suggestion of a North /South divide is just childish gripes, regarding basic facilities Orford/Dallam areas have obviously needed upgrades more than the more affluent Southern areas. Regarding preservation of open space, nature conservation areas etc all areas of the town should be equally entitled and these areas, being open to all, benefit the whole town.

Re the New Town, the ideology included 'the creation of places where people would enjoy to live' and community facilities and preserved assets were a part of the original plans - but didn't materialise - such as the art centres at Walton Hall and Bewsey Old Hall. Enough housing was built to provide money for these projects but NT chose not to fulfil their obligations here - you can't blame WBC for that. 

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Sha    113
On ‎02‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 1:04 PM, Confused52 said:

.......I don't know why you prefer do put the blame on HCA rather than WBC but the evidence is clear and I am afraid that the inability of Warrington folk  to critically examine WBCs performance over the years has a lot to do with where we are today, stuck with a short term muddling plan with no aspiration. The New City tosh is just a plan to increase council tax and Business rate take without any fix for the transport problems. WBC have learnt nothing.

I put the blame where I think it's due depending on the issue in question and where the responsibility should lie.

I agree that people should critically examine WBC's performance, I think they should also critically examine HCA's performance too and any other 'body' whose actions affect our town and our lives. That's what democracy is about.

With regard to the subject of this thread - the HCA proposals to build on the green fields of Appleton & Grappenhall, I think both HCA and WBC's planning & highways departments both deserve criticism!  I think HCA are behaving like a wily, speculative, developer and what the hell are WBC planning  and highways depts. doing proposing these plans are passed? I just hope the councillors on the development control committee stand up to them and refuse the application.

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Sha    113

The threads re the Peel developments and HCA Appleton / Grappenhall / Stretton have merged somewhat. I've copied a relevant post from the Peel thread.  

I would expect that a profit share clause (between Satnam & HCA) does exist on the Peel site. The importance of any such information being in the public realm would be in regard to the application for planning consent. And for the same reason it needs to be established whether or not HCA have sold or are in the process of selling the mill acesss land to Satnam.  If HCA stand to profit from the Peel site, and do plan to sell the access land to enable the development to go ahead, why, at this particular point in proceedings would they be with-holding the access land sale? HCA have other sites currently awaiting decisions on planning approval, which, if the Peel site had already been approved it would be unlikely they would get approval for as the housing quota figures would have been met. (They are relying on the Appleton / Grappenhall / Stretton sites - unnecessary aspirational housing - being considered to 'fulfil the housing quota'). 

I wonder if the Peel site is being held back purposely as they think that this can be considered later, irrespective of the housing quota as it contains much affordable housing? ( thus permission on ALL sites) But surely such antics, which might be used by a wily, greed driven developer would not be ethical if used by the HCA?  What would you think? 

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Sha    113

As reported on the news page the decision was deferred on both applications.

Iv'e copied out my post on this article to save tying it all out again.

 

I'm afraid, that what might be going on could be just theatrical, political point scoring - but really all parties singing from the same song sheet.

Appleton / Grappenhall, Lib Dem councillors making a song and dance about a 'campaign to fight' the applications - but misleading objectors into believing that the 'previous consents' meant that the development couldn't be stopped and that the best that could be achieved was to ensure good infrastructure was included. This was incorrect as the 'previous permissions' related only to the previous plans (with loads of infrastructure). These were entirely different plans. The sites being split and HCA trying, by doing this, to get the housing without forking out for the infrastructure.

As the myth of the 'previous permissions' being valid was widely believed, and having no up to date local plan, gives 'a presumption in favour of development', HCA, may have thought they would have it passed through 'on the nod', and they hadn't produced very good plans - misleading information, lack of information, unclear calculations etc.

However, the proposals were challenged.

The 'presumption in favour of development' can be challenged, and the developer has to prove that the 'benefits' not just outweigh but CLEARLY outweigh any negative issues.  Which this application couldn't - and thus should have been refused. Any appeal by HCA could only have been decided on the circumstances that existed at the time of refusal - and I doubt it would have succeeded. On the other hand, if the plans had been passed - I think an objector’s appeal would have been won. 

The deferral of the application, gives HCA time to 'tidy up' the proposals and the 'awaited local decisions' may be in their favour and add weight to their application. Personally, I would think that there must be members who would have at least some idea of which way the 'local decisions' will go.

Whatever, as the weight appeared clearly on the objector’s side at the meeting, I would have thought that a 'call in' to scrutiny might have been made regarding the deferral decision.

I suppose we will all have to wait and see how it all unfolds.

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Confused52    10

Sha, are the local decisions related to the Local plan Preferred Development Options up for next weeks Exec Meeting (see Monday 10th July - item 5). I wonder what you view will be on that proposal.

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Sha    113

Confused52, the reason for deferral of both planning applications was "pending local plan review", yes this is the "Local plan Preferred Development Options". The basics of which has been covered on the WWW news page - in the next 20 years - 24,000 more houses, 9,000 on Greenbelt land.

Note, that in the last greenbelt review, the sites in Appleton & Grappenhall which the planning applications referred to are not classified Greenbelt. 

The relevance of the "Local plan Preferred Development Options" to these planning applications is that at the time of the meeting there was no up to date local plan and no details as to what Warrington's future housing targets would be.  As reported on the news page, mass expansion of the town is the 'preferred option' and sites for development will be identified and there will be a public consultation exercise. I would be extremely surprised if the Appleton / Grappenhall sites are not earmarked for development.  Being included for development in the "Local plan Preferred Development Options" would give some 'weight' to HCA'S applications - however, this does not mean that the  proposals cannot be challenged.

It would be hard to believe that on the night of the planning committee, members would be unaware of what was in the "Local plan Preferred Development Options". I wonder if any other developer could have an application 'deferred' until the balance is more in their favour? 

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