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Peel Hall: Ten key questions
8:00am Friday 15th February 2013 in News
THE past seven days have seen great controversy over plans to build houses on land at Peel Hall in Warrington.
This week, the Warrington Guardian looks at the site and answers 10 key questions.
1 So where is Peel Hall?
It covers a 45 hectare large area of green fields in the north of Warrington. Bordered by the M62 to the north, Houghton Green to the east, Orford and Longford to the south and Hulme to the east.
It is well used bynature lovers and is home to an array of wildlife including newts and owls.
2 And what about its history?
Well developers have been wanting to get their hands on the land for decades. Previous plans for more than 1,100 houses on the site were greeted with huge anger in the late 1990s with thousands signing petitions to protest.
3 What is the current plan?
Satnam, the developers, want to build 150 houses and incorporate sport pitches with floodlights. However this would likely be the tip of the iceberg with space for hundreds of other houses on the land.
4 Who are the key players here?
Satnam, by developer standards, are relatively small players in the field but they are determined to find a way to build.
Helen Jones: The Warrington North MP has been a long time campaigner against the plans. Some of her closest councillor allies in surrounding wards have also spoken out.
Warrington Borough Council: It says it will oppose the scheme but failed to call a meeting within an eight week time limit.
5 Is it unusual for a council to go over the limit?
Yes and no! In the case of Arpley tip, turned down last week, it took almost a year for the committee to listen to the arguments. But that is rare
6 So what happened in this case?
Hard to say. Most likely is that council officers have been outflanked by Satnam. As in the Arpley case, sometimes both sides informally agree to a delay. What is likely to have taken place here is that Satnam have decided to look for a public inquiry early - in a bid to strengthen its case.
7 And what of Andy Farrall?
Ultimately in charge of planning at the Town Hall, he was under fire from Mrs Jones and five Labour councillors who called for his resignation. They say it is his responsibility to ensure it works smoothly.
8 Hasn’t the planning department had some problems in the past?
It certainly has. Most notably when a scathing Ombudsman report sanctioned them for wrongly destroying documents last year.
9 What do people living nearby think?
Thousands have signed petitions while 300 attended a public meeting on Thursday night.
10 So what happens next?
Well the council’s planning committee will meet to discuss the scheme as planned on March 7. A public inquiry is then likely to be held later in the year.