WNCF reaction to the Local Plan


Here are my initial thoughts about the Local Plan published today 

Responding to the draft local plan, Geoff Settle Chair of the Warrington Nature Conservation Forum says:

“Good to see that our request for the concept of Linescapes, remapping, enhancing and reconnecting Warrington’s fragmented wildlife sites by enhancing and improving linkages has now been incorporated.” But “Very concerned about the Port of Warrington’s impact on Moore Nature Reserve”

“Concerned about the inclusion of Peel Hall – the inspector currently says a big fat NO to applicant”

“Loss of Green Belt unacceptable there must be a better way – if not it’s gone forever”

“Need greater assurance that WBC will properly scrutinise planning applications for potential impact on wildlife and scrutinise and enforce planning guidelines on cowboy developers”

“Our grandchildren are going to hate us if we get this and climate change wrong, we have to deliver a sustainable plan that protects the natural environment”

Whilst a comment from an exec member reads:

My only comment in such as short time is – and it’s based on something that’s happened in the past week.

A piece of land near the Spar at Risley has just been cleared & the trees along the roadside have been felled.  I assume its for construction of a new office block/warehouse which – if true, is surprising given that there are several empty warehouses/office blocks around the area that are up for rent or sale.  Surely part of the plans priority and development should be about utilising these buildings or the land they stand on rather than using new land for construction or these properties standing empty.  

How many buildings like this stand empty & unused around the town and potentially could be brought back into use as housing or even better flats, thereby taking the pressure of green belt land perhaps?

And in response to the article Geoff wrote

Thanks Freddie, I got a degree in Geography and Economics at Lanchester Polytechnic Coventry University) and I look bad at what we were taught the in planning etc and look at what is happening now with disgust – guess who was at the same place as me a certain director Andy Farrell? Why does he not have the same ethos as me? I spent time in my Mayoral year helping to redevelop the WNCF page on the council web site (having had a thirty year career in IT) and I felt that the changes were very good we had a backlog of our WNCF newsletters etc.

Approximately 4 weeks later the page was taken down due to a need to save money blaming austerity it was like a smack in the face but only worse – what about the expense already spent on the IT man’s time what a waste e was up to date and virtually maintenance free. Unbelievable but at least Andy is going to retire like me this year. I used to have time for him but I can’t understand why protection for the Natural Environment is not top of such a Local Plan. Oh did I say Natural Environment well what hurt me most was the loss of Warrington BRILLIANT Natural Environmental Officer – she had to go to save money! Fortunately she got a job straight away and is doing very well and with the kind help of RIMAG (Risley Moss Action Group) we have a new WEB Site www.WNCF.co.uk.

There’s saving money and there’s ..I could go on but …take a look at our Facebook site that I set up some time ago and pls like it. https://www.facebook.com/Warrington-Nature-Conservation-Forum-110886079024465/

BTW Russ Bowden did a tremendous job on the fight to stop the Rixton Clay Pigeon Shoot castle from being built – that was one we lost at the Inquiry after the cowboys had built the thing without planning permission and no meaning full enforcement by the council plus in the process they got the Wildlife status of the area removed because they found a loop whole in the Cheshire Wildlife evidence – they showed the Inspector that due process of the survey they did was flawed because they missed out talking to a farmer. The planning world is crazy and I spent 4 years on the committee. Having said this the bad experience has helped me fight Peel Hall along with a FANTASTIC drive of local residents none more so than Margaret Steen – the Fountain of knowledge (and Queen of Peel Hall) about planning in relation to the area since 1999 and more recently Wendy Johnson-Taylor. Two BRILLIANT ladies who have shown great leadership qualities. We still have a long fight ahead but all sorts of stuff is and has been going on that we always try and get across to the Inspector as we get to the Inquiry stage for the umpteenth time – there is very little time between successful milestone plans. We also have Steve (Wildlife Photographer extraordinaire and WG Green Champion of the year a while back). Its such a boost to have them and a couple of others who won’t give up easily. Rant over.

On a general note please lets us know via our web site www.wncf.co.uk if you have an items of concern that you think might impact wildlife and the natural environment.


Geoff Settle