Approval nears for Widnes homes in departure from local plan

An application by Russells Homes for 118 houses off Warrington Road in Widnes is to go before Halton’s planning committee today, with a recommendation to approve.

The 7.2 acre site, bounded to the north by Warrington Road and the south by Fiddlers Ferry Road, is currently vacant, having formerly been home to a British Polythene Industries factory.

Russells plans to build 118 homes; 69 for open market sale, 31 designated as affordable, and 18 for rent.

The site is designated as a primarily employment area under Halton’s development plan, meaning the proposals are a departure from the borough’s local plan.

Russells has argued the loss of employment land from the proposals would be “negligible” and that the proposed development would provide “a more suitable and sustainable use of the site than for employment uses, which are shown to be no longer viable”.

The developer also said the site had become “peripheral and divorced” from the main Widnes Waterfront employment area, and that the surrounds of the site had become more residential in character due to the nearby planning consent for 200 homes. These homes will also be developed by Russells.

Russells has also delivered a number of two and three-bed homes as part of its nearby Bower Brook Gardens development, bordering Page Lane.

Halton planning officers said the principle of residential development on the employment site was “considered to be acceptable” and stated the proposals would deliver affordable housing provision in excess of the borough’s policy requirements.

Planners also acknowledged there were “better quality locations for the delivery of employment, retail, and leisure opportunities which would be more attractive to the market” than the site proposed by Russells.

The homes will be delivered over a three-year period.

Halton’s planning committee will meet on 8 January.

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