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Borough council to take advice from QC after Secretary of State approves 1,200+ home scheme

Warrington Borough Council has said it is taking legal advice from Queen’s Counsel on the Secretary of State’s decision to allow proposed development of Peel Hall.

The council said earlier this week that it has up to six weeks to appeal the decision in favour of Satnam Limited, which is looking to build 1,200 homes..

Cllr Russ Bowden, Leader of Warrington, said: “At all stages, and for many years, the council has robustly rejected a series of planning applications at Peel Hall. In February 2017, an application for 1,200 homes was refused, leading to a public inquiry in mid-2018. The council again defended its position and we were very disappointed when Satnam legally challenged the decision to not build on the site.

“The Satnam legal challenge at the High Court was successful and the decision was then made that the planning application be recommended for further consideration. This meant that a planning inspector, acting on behalf of the Government’s Secretary of State, began a new inquiry in September 2020. It is this latest inquiry, that has disappointingly resulted in the latest decision to give the go ahead for the development of Peel Hall.”

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Cllr Bowden added: “At every step we have worked very closely with Peel Hall residents and supported them to produce evidence to support their arguments. We have been continually resolute and, as a result, we have spent a considerable amount of tax payer’s money preventing inappropriate development.

“Regarding why Peel Hall had to be included in the latest draft Local Plan, this was done on legal advice, as not to include it would be a possible threat to a further legal challenge by Satnam. Our external professional advice has always been that the best way to protect Peel Hall, and to control any proposed development, is through the framework of the Local Plan.

“We are very concerned and angry that, despite our continued rebuttal, the decision to allow development has now been made by the Secretary of State, and we share the frustrations of our local campaign groups. We have referred the matter for consideration to our Queen’s Counsel and we await their views on the legal options available to us. I thank the Peel Hall residents and campaigners for their work over many years to protect it from development and to resist the determined efforts of Satnam.”

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