An open letter to councillors

I am writing today to speak of my deep regret, sadness, disappointment and anger at the proposed plans for development at Gulliver's World that have very surprisingly been 'approved with conditions'.

Despite more than 1100 objections received by the council detailing reasons why this development should not go ahead, it seems that our cries have been ignored.

I chose to live in Warrington because of the links to Liverpool and Manchester but also because of the close access from Westbrook to the beautiful green spaces in this area.

Over the last couple of years, I have been delighted to have had close sightings of our local wildlife, especially in the areas around Bog and Twig wood which are signposted to be destroyed in the development plans. Wildlife such as bats, frogs, fieldmice, hedgehogs, foxes, rabbits....and birds such as kingfishers, jays, buzzards, woodpeckers, swifts, house-martins, to name just a few. We are blessed to have such an array of wildlife on our doorstep and I hope you have all been privileged to witness this.

I fear though, that if this proposed development should go ahead, this will signal the end of so much of the wildlife so many of the locals enjoy, as the habitat will be destroyed and will mean they have to seek their homes elsewhere.

Why is it that we live in a time when the trees that have surrounded us for decades are being destroyed?

The very trees that are keeping our polluted air that little bit cleaner. HS2 is a mass destruction of our beautiful countryside, please please don't let Warrington go the same way. I have spent every day in Sankey Valley Park since lockdown and has been a place of great enjoyment and peace for many of the local residents in what has been a testing time for our physical and mental well-being. I am heartbroken to think that the town I chose as my home, has a stronger desire to seek out profit from a deteriorating, run-down theme park (that has so many shocking reviews to this effect - have any of you read them???) than to nurture and protect the very reason why so many people are drawn to this area.

Aside from the destruction of wildlife, the increase in cars in this area will be catastrophic. Not only to our already busy roads (made more so by the closure of Whittle Avenue currently which brings more traffic to Westbrook Way and Cromwell Avenue), but bringing more air pollution.

Did lockdown teach us nothing about the effect of the pollution from cars or the quality of our air and in turn out health? Again, as a town, why are you willingly choosing air pollution and environmental destruction over our health (I know this as an asthmatic) and that of our town, country and planet?

As many of you live local to this area, I'm sure you will know just how much joy so many people have with the wildlife, beautiful woodlands and green space near to Gulliver's World and sure you will also know of the torment so many of the nearest neighbours have suffered as a result of noise pollution and increase in traffic too.

I am asking you to please carefully consider what is actually being proposed here - great expanses of woodlands to be decimated, a pet resort in the middle of a residential estate (who brings horses on holiday anyway?!) and an invitation for even more traffic in an already busy area, which will increase even further with the addition of the new houses being built as we speak.

Please do not let us down, we vote for our local councillors in the faith that you will back us up and stand firm with us in times like this. I am hoping that you will do what is right and what so many of the local residents are valiantly fighting for right now.

Debbie Hopkins