Labour's Blunder will cost a huge sum

July 3, 2018 7:31 PM
By Alix Roper

bbarrWarrington's Development Management Committee has voted unanimously to turn down the Council's own planning application to place a Waste Transfer Station on highly congested and polluted Winwick Road, which is the principal northern gateway into the town. This reversed a decision by the Executive Board, the Council's cabinet, to place the facility there.

The Waste Transfer Station would be visited up to twice a day by every refuse collection vehicle in Warrington and waste would have been taken away by 44 tonne trucks travelling up the A49 to the M6.

The Committee was told that the additional traffic would be 'negligible' compared to existing flows on Winwick Road and that similar facilities elsewhere release no odour and are not subject to vermin. On balance the reduced distance travelled by refuse trucks would lessen pollution in the town as a whole.

Cllr Bob Barr Leader of the Liberal Democrats said, "The Committee had visited a similar facility in the countryside near Lancaster far from any residential or educational facilities. While that transfer station was quiet, clean and largely unobjectionable, it wasn't comparable to one sited next to one of the busiest roads in Warrington.

The technical argument put together carefully and professionally by officers was sound and cost-effective. However it totally ignored the wishes of residents. Officers did what the Executive Board told them to do, which was to maximise the savings by locating the station centrally on Warrington Council owned land. Had they been allowed to work to a slightly more relaxed brief, still offering savings, a less controversial site may have been found, though officers say that over 200 locations had been considered.

The Labour Executive Board led by Cllrs. Terry O'Neill and Russ Bowden, has to take full responsibility for failing to understand the strength of resident objections and the strength of backing that residents had from back-bench Labour councillors. They ploughed on regardless. Winwick Road is the wrong site for a Waste Transfer Station. Air pollution already exceeds legal limits along this road, it is highly congested, and inadequately cleaned.

If you have any faith in the future development of the town, this site will become a prime location, once the few available sites in the Town Centre and Stadium Quarter are used up. It should not be blighted by placing an unpopular waste facility here.

Those living, working and studying close to the proposed site, as well as those relying on the A49, deserve better than this attempt to impose a decision. The Leader, Deputy Leader and Executive Board Member should take full responsibility for this costly and wasteful error and consider their positions.

The officers said that the application had already cost almost a million pounds. I presume that includes the design of the station and preparation of the site. They said that without a Transfer Station the cost of handling our waste will massively increase because we will not be able to choose contractors".