Although Warrington has an adopted Local Plan, the housing figure in that plan (500 new homes a year) was successfully challenged at the High Court and as a result the figure was removed from the plan – therefore, currently Warrington does not have an agreed Local Plan Housing Target to base any calculations on.
Therefore, Warrington’s Housing Need figure will be based on the Government’s projected household growth for Warrington, taking into account house price affordability (as outlined in their proposed new methodology).
Under the Government’s proposed new methodology Warrington’s Local Housing Needs figure is calculated at 914 new homes per annum. This calculation for Warrington has been confirmed by the Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The Objectively Assessed Housing Needs figure the Council has calculated for the new Local Plan, Preferred Development Option consultation, is 955 new homes per annum.
It should be noted that the Local Housing Need is a minimum figure for the number of new homes to be built – not a maximum. This is a minimum to ensure that there are enough homes provided locally into the future to meet the needs of the town and avoid issues of affordability and lack of new homes.
The Government in its proposed new methodology is supportive of councils uplifting these housing targets above the minimum figure if they have ambition to increase employment and jobs in their areas. The Local Plan’s assessment of the Council’s growth ambitions suggests increasing the Local Housing Need Figure to 1,113 new homes per annum.
This is set out in chapter 2 and Table 1 of the Local Plan Preferred Development Option document which is the subject of the consultation process.
This is part of the consultation process – if stakeholders and residents wish to challenge these figures then they can do this by making formal representations to the Council as part of the consultation process. Ultimately these figures would form a part of the discussion at the Local Plan’s Examination in Public, with its independent chair appointed by Government – so it’s important for people to have their views at this early stage in the process.
Potential for a future crossing of the Manchester Ship Canal
The council is consulting on the preferred development option for its Local Plan. As part of the consultation, the council has prepared a development concept for the garden city suburb, to the south east of Warrington. This is one of the locations proposed for new development as part of the preferred development option and the council considers this area could provide up to 7,000 homes.
The development concept is an illustration of what this development could look like and sets out the likely infrastructure required to support this level of growth, such as new schools, health facilities, parks and transport improvements. The development concept identifies potential transport infrastructure to support development and suggests that a number of new routes including a further crossing of the ship canal may be required.
No detailed scheme has been worked up for a crossing at this stage and this crossing could be a road, a public transport route such as a busway or a combination of the two – further work will be required to determine this.
The development concept shows the potential of using the disused railway line as this is an existing alignment making it possible option for the location of a crossing. It also shows an illustrative alignment of a new link route which would connect the crossing into the proposed Garden City suburb to the south and towards to the town centre to the north. This route has been included to give an indication of the areas that the route would need to connect to and has not been worked up in detail.
Following the current consultation period, the council will be looking at the transport impacts of the preferred development option in much more detail to confirm whether a new ship canal crossing is required. If it is required, the council will need to consider all possible route options for the crossing in addition to the option shown on the plan. This will be subject to further consultation as part of the next round of Local Plan consultation scheduled for spring 2018 before it is subject to Independent Examination by a Government appointed inspector.
The council would undertake a thorough public consultation on all transport schemes which are needed to support the Local Plan once it is adopted.