Helen Jones writes a monthly column for the Warrington Guardian. Here she considers the Peel Hall inquiry

FIRSTLY, thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to send best wishes to me following my gall bladder operation – it is much appreciated.

Apologies to those people whose appointments have had to be postponed because of my operation.

The current phase of the Brexit psychodrama may be reaching a climax this weekend when Parliament sits on a Saturday for the first time in three decades.

Even if the issue of the Withdrawal Agreement is resolved this week, or on October 31 or sometime next year people need to remember that this is just the start of the process and the harder job of negotiating our future relationship with the EU still lies ahead of us.

The Brexit issue will be with us for quite some time to come.

Nearer to home, last week saw Peel Hall raise its head once more as the High Court quashed the secretary of state and planning Inspectorate’s decision to uphold the council’s refusal to allow the site to be developed.

This means that there will almost certainly be another public inquiry at significant cost to the public purse.

Both borough and parish councillors have, rightly, pointed out that the High Court quashed the council’s decision because of the actions of Secretary of State and the Planning Inspectorate – no blame has been attributed to the council.

Why then, they ask, should the cost of a new public inquiry fall upon Warrington council tax payers?

A good question, and one which I urge the council leader and chief executive to pursue.

I shall certainly be asking the question to the Communities and Local Government minister.

I will also be demanding that the borough council represents the views of the overwhelming majority in the area surrounding Peel Hall at any forthcoming inquiry.

They need to ensure that they present a robust defence of the council position and that the last large green space in north Warrington is preserved.

I know that some people feel that the council’s position on developing Peel Hall has been less than fully supportive of local residents, despite the huge show of public opinion against any development on the site submitted, via my petition, to the Local Plan consultation.

Now is the time for the council to step up to the plate and prove those doubters wrong by ensuring the case in powerfully made once more and by stating, very clearly, that it opposes any and all development proposals for the Peel Hall site.

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