RESIDENTS of Stretton were very dismayed to learn that despite the strong objections of some 50 residents and the parish council, the development management committee at Warrington Borough Council has approved a request for retrospective planning consent for an unauthorised permanent site in Stretton.

This decision will involve the release for development of up to seven acres of greenbelt land in addition to the 100-plus acres within our parish that have already been earmarked for release in the Local Plan.

This site is located outside of the boundaries determined by the council’s own officers in their proposals in the Local Plan and is in addition to a further travellers’ site that will be created in Grappenhall as part of the Garden Suburb development.

We can only assume that this decision has been influenced by the borough council’s long standing failure to produce a co-ordinates plan to meet their obligations to provide a transit site and permanent pitches for travellers.

It seems Warrington’s planners are waiting for the problem to solve itself by stealth, and in an unmanaged fashion, regardless of the impact this may have upon rural communities such as Stretton.

Unlike the neighbouring authority in Halton, where a similar request from this applicant for retrospective approval for an unauthorised site was refused, the approach in Warrington has been to ride roughshod over the views of residents and parish councils safe in the knowledge that they do not have the resources to appeal against such an unsound and unfair decision.

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This episode is further evidence of the disdain with which some members of the borough council continue to treat the views of the communities and residents of south Warrington and unfortunately, simply consolidated the feeling that they really don’t care about who lives to the south of the ship canal.

Stretton is a very small parish and already has a travellers’ site situated within its community so why has another been allowed in such close proximity?