WARRINGTON South MP Faisal Rashid says ‘real and workable’ solutions are needed to tackle the town’s ‘intolerable’ congestion issues.

The Labour politician confirmed he will be providing a comprehensive response to the draft local plan during the anticipated consultation period.

But he told residents he has several concerns that he intends to raise – including the loss of green belt land for development, the Western Link and Port Warrington and the need for improvements to infrastructure.

Mr Rashid said: “Since my election in 2017, I have always spoken out on the issues that matter to my constituents.

“I have strongly opposed development of our green belt land.

“I have objected to inappropriate planning applications on behalf of my constituents.

“I am opposing plans for Port Warrington because I do not believe this plan will benefit our people and town.”

But Mr Rashid said he appreciates the challenges the council faces in producing a local plan.

He says: “The Government has placed a statutory duty on local authorities to produce a local plan to identify land for future housing and economic growth.

“If the council fails to produce a plan which meets Government approval it will be thrown out.

“This would mean that the council loses control of the planning process, leaving our open spaces at the mercy of developers free to cherry-pick our green spaces for new housing and commercial build.

“During my time as the MP, the greatest concerns raised with me by my constituents have been about the need for better road infrastructure and action to tackle the intolerable problems we have with traffic congestion.

“As it stands, our roads are not fit for purpose and the problems we have with congestion are only set to get worse.

“We need real and workable solutions to these problems.”

The draft local plan aims to deliver 18,900 new homes – or 945 a year – up until 2037.

However, in addition to a 10 per cent ‘flexibility uplift’, the document sets out proposals for 20,790 homes.

There is an urban capacity for 13,726 homes, so green belt land has been earmarked for 7,064 homes.

The plan is also bidding to support the borough’s economic growth by making 362 hectares of employment land available, including 213 hectares on the green belt.

Mr Rashid added: “In response to the preferred development option, I criticised proposals to remove land from the green belt for development and called for the land to be protected.

“I made it clear that I wanted to see a brownfield first approach taken to development in the town.

“In response to those concerns, and concerns from many Warrington South residents, the council has reduced the amount of green belt that could be released for development.

“However, my view on this issue remains unchanged.

“I believe that development of our green belt land is the wrong approach to take to meet development targets set out by the Government.”

Full council approval on March 25 would pave the way for an eight-week formal public consultation in the spring.