THIS week sees the Local Plan being considered by the council’s executive board.

It is a crucial step for Warrington and so is rightly the focus of my latest column.

But why is the Local Plan important?

Put simply, it sets out our legal planning framework for the next 20 years and details the housing, community facilities, schools, medical centres and wider infrastructure that we’ll need to support our growing town.

The plan is a Government requirement – we can’t not have one.

And the council must deliver a plan that meets the Government’s housing target. If we don’t do that, then the plan will be rejected and we will lose control over future development.

Given these constraints, we have to get the best outcome we can and use our plan to build a future that supports everyone who calls Warrington ‘home’.

The plan proposes the delivery of 945 new homes per year – a total of 18,900 over the plan period.

This is slightly higher than the absolute minimum figure the Government has set, but is necessary based on our projected population.

It also commits to maximising use of brownfield land and urban infill for development, but the reality is that our urban areas are near their development capacity. Even using the Government’s minimum figures, we would have no option but to unlock some green belt land for development.

We have taken every step to protect as much as possible, and the plan will preserve almost 90 per cent of our Green Belt land.

We need to make sure that we get the right homes in the right places to meet the needs of Warrington. That’s why we’re proposing that 20 per cent of homes built in inner Warrington, and 30 per cent elsewhere in the borough, will be ‘affordable’.

The plan also has targets for homes suitable for the elderly and disabled.

This draft plan is not a done deal. We have addressed the 4,500 representations made against the Preferred Development Option and we want to hear from you again.

If the plan is approved for consultation by full council later this month, we will host a series of public events and an online survey to make sure you can have your say.

In the meantime, visit to find out when the next leader’s forums are. It would be a good opportunity for you to meet me in a relaxed setting and ask questions on the issues that matter to you.