Several years ago, probably more than I care to remember, I did some volunteer work at Sycamore Lane Primary School for a few months, helping to set up and coach a rugby league team there.

The school had enough talented players for a ‘seven’s team and actually did well in one of the town’s competitions.

The upshot of all this is I have quite fond memories of Sycamore Lane School. I remember it as a bright and lively place with welcoming teachers and enthusiastic, pleasant pupils. There was obviously a culture of respect and learning and it was a pleasure to go.

I was sad, then, when the school was closed in 2013 and replaced with the new Chapelford Primary School. I was even sadder that the buildings at Sycamore Lane were left empty and the land left unused. It seemed such a waste of a resource.

There was a suggestion back in 2011 that the site could be used for allotments, a plan I would have very much supported, but it came to nothing and eventually time and the elements took their toll with the buildings declared unsafe before they were finally demolished in 2017.

But fast forward a couple of years and there’s a new plan for the site. Are we going to get a landscaped green open space? Is the land going to be given to community use? Are we going to get those allotments?

Well, the answer is no. What we are getting is housing if Warrington Borough Council gets its way.

And let’s face it, the council owns the land, is the property developer, is responsible for giving planning permission and the council has funding so my guess is the new homes are going to be built.

But I’m a bit confused about what sort of housing we are going to get. Are these new homes part of a social housing project or are they going on the open market?

The first thing to look at is who is actually building the houses. According to Local Democracy Reporter Aran Dhillon, the council has created two companies to generate income and deliver around 500 properties in the coming years.

The council is the sole shareholder of Incrementum Housing, the development firm, and Incrementum Housing Management, the management firm. And the two council companies have also been successful, in principle, in securing £1.8 million of local authority accelerated construction (LAAC) funding from Homes England.

All well and good and it certainly seems to have pleased council leader Cllr Russ Bowden who said: “I think it is crucial the council is able to deliver social and affordable housing.

“We have had a lot of debate in the town around the local plan about delivering the number of houses that are needed in Warrington – of the right sort, in the right places and with the right standard.”

So we’re getting social and affordable housing are we?

Well maybe not.

After the joyous celebrations from Cllr Bowden, we come to a much more staid and businesslike statement from a ‘council spokesman’ who said: “The homes will be delivered in accordance with the council’s emerging policy on affordable housing provision as set out in the draft local plan having regard also to the requirements of the national planning policy framework.

“Therefore, a minimum of 20 to 30 per cent of the new homes will be ‘affordable’, depending on the location of the site.”

And there’s the get-out clause ‘depending on the location of the site’. That’s a bit of built-in wriggle room if ever saw it.

Interestingly, the Guardian reported over the weekend: "The development is intended to provide ‘high quality, energy efficient homes for rent on the open market’ according to documents."

The ‘open market’, really? The open market doesn’t sound much like ‘affordable’ to me.

Can’t wait to see the outcome of this one.