THE fate of Peel Hall now lies in the hands of a planning inspector after an ongoing legal inquiry was drawn to a close yesterday, Wednesday.

The closing arguments were heard at the public inquiry at The Village Hotel at Centre Park following a long-running dispute over the council’s decision to refuse a controversial masterplan for 1,200 homes on the site.

Many campaigners returned for the final three days of the inquiry after it resumed on Monday – the evidence will help to decide the future of plans of the 156-acre former farmland.

Richard Moore, environmental protection officer for Warrington Borough Council, explained how the data provided by Satnam’s specialists with regard to the annual average daily traffic and its impact had been ‘inaccurate’ and that the air quality would result in ‘significant adverse effects’ on health.

Mike Taylor, head of highways, also told the inquiry that his main concern was the absence of traffic flow consideration along the A49 over the weekend at peak times.

He said the omission of such data could lead to ‘severe effects’ and that he had not come across an instance when the weekend peak times near food stores are left out of evaluations.

But this was disputed by Satnam’s barrister Christopher Lockhart-Mummery, who said weekday and weekend traffic flow showed no significant difference.

He also emphasised the need for houses amid a shortage in the area, saying the ‘sustainable urban extension’ would bring ‘a positive transformational change’.

Hilary Smith, from the council’s education department, sparked outrage in the room among some campaigners when she stated there were four high schools and eight primary schools within walking distance of the site.

David Manley, representing Warrington Borough Council, discussed modelling issues and described problems and issues raised over air quality data as ‘troubling and wholly inadequate’.

n Read more from the inquiry online at