COUNCIL leader Cllr Russ Bowden says the authority has displayed a commitment to protecting Warrington’s heritage despite the ‘climate of ongoing austerity cuts’.

Osborne and Co’s planning application to demolish 450-year-old pub the Raven Inn was formally withdrawn on Thursday.

The developer had proposed to knock down the Glazebury site, which closed last year, and build 10 homes on the land.

But the plans sparked outrage from residents in the area.

Along with residents, Cllr Bowden (LAB – Birchwood) has welcomed the withdrawal of the application.

He said: “The withdrawal of the application for The Raven is welcomed, particularly if this paves the way for a new scheme to come forward that respects the heritage aspects of the site to the benefit of the community.”

The public have been highlighting the prospect of nominating the land as an asset of community value and, possibly, turning it into a community hub.

An asset can be listed as one of community value if it can be demonstrated that its primary use furthers, or has recently furthered, the community’s ‘social wellbeing or social interests’ and is likely to continue doing so.

But Cllr Bowden admits the council is ‘often in a difficult position’ when a land owner or developer comes forward with a proposal.

He added: “The council is legally obliged to participate in pre-application discussions and advice – regardless of whether or not the application is likely to be supported for approval.

“In the case of The Raven, the site is in the green belt and the building has some heritage value, regardless of whether or not it is a listed building.

“While planning law makes a presumption in favour of development, in this case the location and historical aspects, add significant weight to the objection raised by the community.

“The council does have a responsibility and duty to protect the heritage of the town in cases like this.

“We have shown our commitment to that agenda in the restoration of the Cenotaph and the Golden Gates, despite the climate of ongoing austerity cuts to local government funding.”