Claims by the Leader of Warrington Borough Council that the he is being forced into building more homes by the Government have been rubbished by the Warrington South's prospective Conservative MP and a letter from the Secretary of State.
Following comments made by Cllr Russ Bowden on Social Media and in the press, Andy Carter wrote to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government asking for clarification as to who is responsible for deciding the number of houses to be built in Warrington in the draft local plan.
In his response, James Brokenshire MP, emphasised that housing need figures are not a target and ‘Local authorities should make a realistic assessment of the number of homes their communities need, using the standard method as the starting point in the process.’
Mr Brokenshire went on to say that ‘once this has been established, planning to meet that need will require consideration of land availability, relevant constraints, and whether the need is more appropriately met in neighbouring areas. This will then be scrutinised, as part of the examination undertaken by an independent Inspector. ‘
Commenting on the letter, Andy Carter said: “The Leader of the Council's comments on housing figures are in direct contradiction to what the Minister is actually saying. It's down to the council to decide how many are needed, not the Governement. Labour's plan is to build in excess of 900 homes per year, yet Warrington has never exceeded 500, how can that be a realistic assessment? They've started the process but don't seem to have applied any common sense, It seems to me that they are threatening our precious green spaces just to generate income. What they are saying just isn’t correct".
“As the public consultation into the Local plan begins I urge residents to read the proposals and to make their views known to the Council, The Proposed Local Plan is Labour’s plan, their vision for house building in our borough, Cllr Bowden's attempt to blame the government is disappointing but par for the course, for once he should listen to the concerns of Warrington residents and re-think these plans to destroy large areas of South Warrington's green-belt.”