THE MP for Warrington North has slammed cabinet minister Michael Gove over a decision to approve a huge housing scheme in her constituency.

Labour’s Charlotte Nichols says the Conservative Housing Secretary’s decision to grant planning permission to Satnam to build 1,200 houses on Peel Hall is a ‘slap in the face’ for residents.

The Planning Inspectorate on Tuesday upheld an appeal against the council’s refusal of planning permission for the massive scheme in Houghton Green, meaning the development can go ahead.

Warrington Borough Council says it will evaluate the 166-page decision report before ‘considering the next possible steps’.

Commenting on the announcement, the MP said: “This decision by Michael Gove to grant Satnam permission to build 1,200 houses on Peel Hall is a complete slap in the face for local residents.

“For over 30 years, residents in Warrington North have fought tooth and nail to save Peel Hall from development.

“Peel Hall is a very valuable piece of green open space that provides a natural barrier between the M62 and the established residential development to the south.

“Warrington Borough Council has rejected many applications over the years from Satnam to develop this site and subsequent appeals have been rejected.

“The case to protect this green open space remains overwhelming. The only thing that has changed is the Government no longer agrees with local residents.”

Ms Nichols says that residents are ‘rightly concerned’ that building 1,200 houses on the site means ‘valuable open space will be lost forever’.

Residents protest against plans for housing at Peel Hall

Residents protest against plans for housing at Peel Hall

“It will increase traffic congestion, worsen our air quality, adversely affect public health, reduce the daily enjoyment of local lives, dramatically change the character of the area and put even more pressure on all our local services,” she continues.

“To make matters even worse, Michael Gove agrees. In his letter announcing his decision to grant the planning application he accepts that many of the local concerns are genuinely founded.

“Astonishingly, Michael Gove states the ecology and wildlife interest of the site would not be unduly harmed by the development. When in fact it will be destroyed.

“One of the worst aspects of Mr Gove’s decision is his dismissal of objections on the grounds of climate change.

“In doing this he puts the needs for development above any concerns about the impact of that development on climate change.”

The MP says the decision comes at the same time the UK is hosting the world COP 26 gathering, seeking to gain international agreement on effective action to tackle climate change.

She added: “After more than 30 years of campaigning by the local community to protect Peel Hall, the Tory Secretary of State is allowing this valuable piece of open green space to be concreted over.

“Like my constituents, I am deeply disappointed by this decision.

“I will be writing to the Secretary of State to raise my many concerns about his decision and I intend to raise this matter on the floor of the House of Commons.”