COUNCILLORS say they are worried that property developers are putting in fake bids to build stables in a bid to defeat planning laws.

It is currently against planning law to build houses on green belt land. But it is far easier to convert stables into houses.

Because building stables is not illegal and councillors meeting last Thursday night said they were not convinced three applications heard in the Town Hall were legitimate - and that they were being used to build houses.

Clr Tony Higgins (LAB Fairfield and Howley) told the development management committee that Warrington was in danger of being turned into ‘Newmarket’.

Two applications for Lymm, one on Booths Lane and the next on Higher Lane, and one in Croft were all discussed for stables. They are the fifth to be considered since the summer.

Clr Bob Barr (LD Lymm) said he was very concerned by the situation.

“I am very suspicious. This committee is being exposed to applications which are excessive next to housing.”

And Clr Ian Marks (LD - Lymm) former council leader, said it was not plausible to believe the site on Booths Lane could be used simply as a stable.

Applicant Gerry Sheehy told the meeting it was for two family members and he would ‘sign a document’ for the councillors to say he would not develop the site further.

But Clr Marks said it was ‘incredible’ to think Mr Sheehy would make an 18 mile trip every day from his Davyhulme home to visit the Lymm site.

He added: “This is a classic site for property development and you cannot ignore that the application is a property developer.”

A group of around 105 people from more than 60 properties surrounding the site hired QC Paul Tucker to speak at the meeting.

He told the committee the residents would take their case to the High Court in London if it was approved - claiming there was no proof that the stables would be needed in the area.

The application was refused by a margin of five to four.