I’M writing regarding the strength of feeling against the proposal for 600 houses in Stretton since it was revealed in the Warrington Guardian.

Everyone I have spoken to is shocked and appalled by the scale of what is envisaged and have vowed to fight it tooth and nail.

Six hundred houses would more than double the size of the village and totally swamp its existing character.

The developers propose a commercial element that they say will create 1,000 jobs.

I find that figure very hard to believe, especially as there is an over supply of such buildings in the WA4 post code.

In a simple search at the weekend I found a total of nearly 500,000sq/ft of warehouse, industrial, light industrial and office space available to rent, buy, or already in the planning system.

That’s an area of equivalent to nearly 76 football pitches.

With so much commercial property already, or soon to be, on the market there can be no justification for releasing green belt land to build more.

A development of this size will create considerably more traffic along a key strategic route that is often severely congested and will become even more so with the new plans for Pewterspear, Appleton Thorn and Grappenhall Heys.

The plans show that the main access road to the estate and commercial park will be opposite Fir Tree Close and the entrance to Spire Hospital, which is only 160 metres from the motorway junction. Even at current traffic levels, traffic backs up on to the M56 east bound slip road and a development of this size will mean a large number of extra commercial and private vehicles trying to get in and out, which will inevitably increase the risk of a major accident.

The main access road cannot be moved to Stretton Road because the junction of the A49 at the Cat and Lion is already at full capacity and would not be able cope with the extra vehicles.

Finally, I think this speculative development, in advance of the new Warrington local plan, demonstrates a serious flaw in the review that has been carried out of Warrington’s green belt.

By splitting the green belt into large areas for assessment and then looking at individual parcels of land, it does not take into account the impact that a development of this size can have on the surrounding area.

If Warrington adopt the approach suggested in the green belt review as it stands, it will provide no protection to a village like Stretton which will effectively be subsumed by this kind of development and quickly joined up with Appleton, Stockton Heath and the rest of Warrington which is precisely what the green belt was designed to prevent.

The benefits of Warrington’s green belt have to be considered as a whole and not just in isolated pockets otherwise the council will completely lose control of strategic development in the borough.