TOWN Hall bosses do not believe there has been any ‘contradiction’ over planning advice from officers – despite serious concerns from councillors.

During last week’s development management committee meeting, councillors enquired about whether the emerging local plan, which is in draft form, could be taken into account for applications before the committee.

Senior council officer Paul Clisby said, if the local plan reaches a ‘more advanced stage’, members can take it into account – but emphasised until it reaches that point they are unable to.

However, it sparked concerns from members.

Cllr Bob Barr stated members were asked to take the local plan into account by officers on the recent Eddie Stobart warehouse application.

He said: “We were asked to take into account the local plan and now we are being asked not to take it into account.”

Cllr Joan Grime also said councillors were recently told to take into consideration the fact that a proposed development site was earmarked for industrial land in the controversial document.

She added there seems to be a ‘strong contradiction’.

But Warrington Borough Council has responded to the concerns.

A spokesman said: “The council does not believe there to have been any contradiction in advice provided by officers.

“Counsel’s advice on what consideration can be given to the emerging local plan was set out in the report to the committee on the Stobart application on July 24 and members were specifically referred to it on the night by the committee’s legal adviser.

“That advice was fully consistent with the advice given to the committee at Wednesday’s meeting.

“Members can take the emerging plan into account where the development proposed is so substantial, or its cumulative effect would be so significant that to grant permission would undermine the plan making process and the emerging plan is at an advanced stage.

“Warrington’s emerging plan is yet to reach that stage.”

The deadline to submit responses on the draft local plan closed on June 17.

And it has been rumoured that the authority has received more than 3,000 responses.

But officers say they are unable to confirm the figure as they are ‘still going through’ the representations, adding that there could be a number of duplicates.

The authority also says it is unable to outline the next steps of the process until the responses have been dealt with.