COUNCILLORS have deferred making a decision on controversial plans to build a 25-storey tower block in Warrington town centre as part of proposals for 550 homes.

Demetrius Limited’s major application came before the development management committee during its virtual meeting this evening, Wednesday.

It proposed demolition work and the construction of four blocks to be built on the current car park at Winwick Street, opposite Central Station.

The outline planning application comprised 550 residential homes, a 160-bed hotel, office space and potentially bars and restaurants.

The developer committed to 10 per cent of the homes being affordable, with planning documents stating that a greater amount would have made the scheme unviable.

The tallest of the four blocks would have been 25 storeys, providing 360 of the homes.

The scheme would have delivered a total of 200 car parking spaces.

But committee members expressed serious concerns over the height and the amount of affordable housing proposed.

However, officers confirmed they ‘robustly assessed’ the proposal and deemed 10 per cent of affordable housing was appropriate for the location.

They also said the height of 25 storeys is considered to be appropriate and that the ‘critical consideration’ would come at the reserved matters stage.

Cllr Bob Barr said the council has been accused of having aspirations to ‘turn Warrington into a city’ and that the site would be visible from across the entire town as ‘one finger sticking up’.

Cllr Peter Carey said officers have not kept committee members up to speed on the plans.

He added: “To me, this isn’t us aspiring to be a city, it’s us aspiring to be part of Legoland.”

Cllr Graham Friend said: “We said this a long time ago, we can’t keep allowing developers to drop below the minimum requirements.”

Cllr Les Morgan also put his views forward on the application.

He said: “I find this a monstrosity, I don’t even know why we are thinking of doing this.”

Ahead of the vote, Cllr Steve Wright said, if a decision was to be deferred, the committee would not want it to come back without the height reduction and the affordable housing issue resolved, which he labelled as the ‘sticking points’

Members voted to defer the application for further discussions between officers and the applicant on the issues discussed.

Shortly after, members approved plans for the continued use of the existing surface car park on the same piece of land for a further four years.