The problem with writing about council issues is they tend to be unrelentingly dull. Who is really interested in budgets, committees, points of order and policies?

The reality is it’s not the esoteric process that matters to you and me, it’s the outcome.

You may not have had the slightest interest in the decision-making process or the environmental considerations in relation to managing domestic waste.

But I bet you’ll be the first to kick off if your bins aren’t collected.

Or a strategic transport policy is unlikely to get your pulse racing until the council decides to knock down your house so it can build a new road.

So on the face of it, the council’s decision to delay work on the town’s local plan until next summer might not seem that important.

But it is.

The reasons for the delay seem reasonable enough on the face of it, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s proposed reforms to the planning system, coupled with a new method of calculating the need for new housing. (I would never be so cynical as to suggest that maybe the plan won’t be published until after next year’s delayed borough council elections given that some of the proposal are somewhat controversial, especially if you live in leafy Appleton.)

The announcement of the delay, needless to say, got the keyboard warriors all riled up.

As I said, the local plan is not without a certain amount of controversy. The council, in the draft version, says it wants to build 18,900 new homes in the town at a rate of 945 a year to 2037 but what has got people hot under the collar especially in the south of the town is that 7,000 of those homes are earmarked for green belt land.

The biggest chunk of those green belt houses will be built at a so-called Garden Suburb in Appleton, hence the anger. To mis-quote William Congreve: Hell hath no fury like an Appleton home owner in danger of getting new neighbours.

Not unreasonably, people are pointing out we should protect the green belt and instead look to develop brownfield sites such as the Fiddlers Ferry power station site now it’s been decommissioned.

Seems logical, doesn’t it?

It’s certainly a view put forward by Warrington South Tory MP Andy Carter (dare I suggest playing to his voter base in the south of the town?) Now I hate to be a contrarian but in my opinion, the two issues aren’t linked, as much as the good people of Appleton and Grappenhall would like them to be.

In the first instance, demolition of the station is due take up to seven years and that’s before any remediation work on potentially contaminated land can take place so that doesn’t take the pressure off the need for new homes now.

And secondly, as a resident of west Warrington, I think we’ve had more than our fair share of housing development.

Fiddlers Ferry opened in 1971 and was fully on stream from 1973. During that time, the people of Penketh and Sankey had to live with all the rubbish it pumped out. We’ve put up with it for almost 40 years and I think we’ve earned the right to have our say about what should happen with the site…and that’s not more housing so we can save Appleton’s fields.

I’ve not been impressed either with the council’s suggestion that the site should be used for some sort of commercial purpose.

Here’s a suggestion. When the Fiddlers Ferry site is finally flattened, let it go green and wild. Encourage wildlife, plant trees (perhaps then Penketh could be known as ‘leafy Penketh’), use some of the land for allotments (it’s a massive site and not all of it will be contaminated), have a visitor and resource centre. Let it be used for the health and wellbeing of local people.

Yes, I feel sorry for those people who live on the edge of the green belt who may suffer a loss of amenity (and maybe a fall in the value of their homes) if an urban village is built, but my sympathy for them doesn’t extend to my part of town suffering as a result.