BURTONWOOD residents are demanding action after the council’s leadership was told the village has been ‘let down for many years’.

Concerns over fly-tipping, gullies, green belt, health services, traffic and school places were among the issues raised during the leader’s forum at The Club in Burtonwood on Monday evening.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden (LAB – Birchwood) and Cllr Cathy Mitchell (LAB – Burtonwood and Winwick) were pressed by the public during the 90-minute session.

The pair heard Burtonwood is an ‘amazing’ village but were told it has ‘gone downhill and been neglected’ and ‘let down for many years’.

In another remark aimed at the Labour pair, a resident said ‘enough is enough’.

Another one said: “If you drove down to Gorsey Lane into Burtonwood, I am not joking, it is like driving into the Bronx, there is a car on its roof that has been there for two weeks, the litter is absolutely disgusting.”

More than 7,000 homes have been earmarked for green belt land in the Labour-run authority’s draft local plan – including 160 in Burtonwood.

But Cllr Mitchell is calling for proposals to release the village green belt site for housing to be scrapped – if an application for 300 properties at Omega, on a site which has planning permission for offices, is passed as part of a wider masterplan.

The Burtonwood site falls on land bounded by Phipps Lane, Green Lane and Winsford Drive.

Cllr Mitchell said she has been speaking out against it ‘for some time now’.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Cathy Mitchell

However, a resident asked if she was just taking action because ‘an election is coming up and seats are under threat’, to which Cllr Mitchell responded with ‘can I win?’.

Cllr Bowden reaffirmed there were 3,500 submissions to the consultation on the draft local plan but a resident said she finds that ‘hard to believe’ as around 1,000 were from Burtonwood alone.

“I have been absolutely honest, delivering a local plan is about the hardest thing you will ever do in council,” Cllr Bowden.

“We have done absolutely everything we can to get those (homes) delivered in the town centre, on brownfield sites and on what we call urban infill. But even by doing that, there is insufficient space in Warrington.”

The Town Hall boss also refuted the claim that the all-out election in May is the reason why the publication of the local plan has been delayed again, until after voting day.

Cllr Bowden highlighted concerns over the impact the 300 properties on Omega would have on junction 8 of the M62, if the scheme goes ahead.

He also told residents that there is a clear policy set out in the draft local plan stating developments need to include at least 30 per cent of affordable housing.

“In terms of the essential plan, it is not that the plan has been pulled, the plan is being reviewed in line with the 3,500 submissions that have been received,” added Cllr Bowden.

“What people want is for infrastructure to come before, or at least in parallel, with any new development that happens.

“I don’t think there is going to be any significant changes to the local plan other than those that Cathy has already talked about.”