RESIDENTS have been urged to argue the case for lower housing targets to protect green belt land in a final plea over the draft local plan.

Grappenhall councillor Ryan Bate, who is the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Warrington South, has called on the public to make their voices heard about the future of the town before the consultation on the document closes on June 17.

He says the proposals for 7,000 new homes and logistics sites in the south will ‘transform our area for the worst’.

“Ever since the council released their plans in March, I have campaigned tirelessly alongside residents to make sure that the people of south Warrington have their voices heard,” he added.

“The plan will result in more traffic congestion, declining air quality and a loss of both our green spaces and the unique character of our villages. There is no appetite for this level of development.

“We must have a plan for Warrington which balances our aspirations for tomorrow with the needs of people today.

“By reducing the plan period and arguing for a lower housing target for Warrington, I believe we can protect our green belt, while also ensuring that the regeneration and repopulation of the town centre is delivered.”

Warrington Nature Conservation Forum (WNCF), whose members include ecologists and wildlife specialists, is also urging people to put their views forward in the consultation.

Members want residents to consider whether wildlife is under threat due to the proposals in the draft document.

WNCF has expressed serious concerns over the loss of parts of Moore Nature Reserve.

However, ornithologist Les Jones says he welcomes the acknowledgement of the borough’s natural assets that include 55 wildlife sites, five nature reserves, four sites of special scientific interest and three special areas of conservations.

He added: “Warrington has so much more that also needs protecting, especially on very small sites such as the rare orchids (bee and northern marsh) from being mowed down in Stockton Heath and Birchwood Way verges.

“Other wildlife species are sprayed with herbicides.

“Our view is that a plan should begin with an assessment of the natural environment.

“What we see is a plan driven by exaggerated central Government housing targets and a lottery for land grab by developers.

“Sacrificing the green belt is not an option that we support.”

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