McGoff calls for resignation of Warrington councillor

Chris McGoff, chief executive of New Care, has called for the resignation of a Warrington councillor over what he claims are “inaccurate, inappropriate, and misleading” comments about the developer’s application for a mixed-use scheme in Lymm.

McGoff has taken action after Liberal Democrat representative for Lymm North and Thelwall, Cllr Ian Marks, accused New Care of being “a greedy developer completely ignoring the community in which the site is located”.

In an email to Warrington Council’s planning department, Marks objected to New Care’s plan to build a care facility on the site of the Macdonald Hotel on Whitbarrow Road, and claimed the proposals would be “gross over-development” of the site.

Marks also said the traffic generated by the project would be “horrendous and quite unacceptable” and added: “I cannot believe you will approve [the application], but if you were minded to do so, I request that it be taken to the Development Management Committee for determination with a site visit beforehand.”

“I urge you to send this back to the drawing board and ask the owner and developer to come back with a scheme that hopefully retains the hotel and is acceptable to the community of Lymm.”

New Care’s proposals cover a plot of land bordered by the Bridgewater Canal, Statham Avenue, Statham Close, and Whitbarrow Road.

The planning application features a 66-bed care home, a children’s day care centre, and elderly care apartments. New Care said the application said the proposals had “full support” of Macdonald Hotels “due to the loss-making nature of the current hotel”.

Hitting out at the councillor’s comments, McGoff said they were “highly offensive” and “completely hypocritical”.

“Only as recently as July, Mr Marks was quoted in the Warrington Guardian highlighting the lack of social care in the area and calling for better joined up thinking’ to avoid more ‘years of misery where the sick, vulnerable and elderly are repeatedly let down’.

“He is playing politics at the expense of potentially depriving the delivery of much needed fit-for-purpose facilities in an area where there is a proven and well documented shortage and in our view is potentially technically misrepresenting the application.”

The application has, however, attracted a significant number of objections from local residents, where a number of neighbours have raised concerns over traffic and pressure on local services.

A previous application by New Care was also refused by Warrington Council in 2017. This featured a 72-bed care home, an 120-capacity nursery, and 52 retirement flats, meaning the latest application is significantly smaller than the previous scheme.

As a result, McGoff said he “entirely objected to the accusation of being a greedy developer,” as levelled by Cllr Marks.

“As this is not a quick return investment often associated with the build and sell of open market housing.  These are purpose-built care facilities that we build, retain and operate from, with a very lengthy return on investment and we are in this for the long haul.”

“Accusing us of being ‘greedy’ will undoubtedly lead to some people forming a negative opinion about the business, and in turn this application, which could then lead to its refusal.

“Furthermore, his throwaway comments could potentially be responsible for denying local people the private investment that could enable them to benefit from high quality local care and stay in the village where they have always lived.

“In addition, given that the extant permission is significantly bigger than the new proposal, which will be viewed as a material consideration at the ensuing appeal, he is also exposing the local council taxpayer to a massive potential financial claim for costs should the application be passed.  We will have no alternative but to seek the same should we have to pursue this route to gain an approval.

“Notwithstanding the course of the application though, the ‘developerphobic’ comments made by Cllr Marks are completely inappropriate in this day and age and he must resign now or be removed from his post.”

Warrington Council has been contacted for comment.

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Methinks McGoff needs to grow thicker skin

By Lee

Missed photo opportunity here. Looks too much like a hard faced ‘greedy’ property developer. Should have been pictured wearing a Hawaiian shirt and cuddling a fluffy kitten.

By UnaPlanner

I agree with Lee. McGoff needs to toughen up. Poor choice of photo too.

By Disgruntled Warringtonian

I’ve just had a look at the current proposals and they do look like overdevelopment. The traffic proposals seem iffy too. Perhaps Ian Marks comments about greed were near the ‘mark’ and McGoff should look at himself in the mirror.

By Peter Black

I hardly think Cllr Marks will resign and he certainly won’t be removed from his post – elected Councillors can’t be sacked by anyone other than the electorate at the next election. He’s representing people who live nearby and is perfectly entitled to express a view and submit objections. Obviously he isn’t making the decision, that’s for the planning committee to determine.

By Steve Sail

Looks like some NIMBYs from Lymm’s village are jumping on the anti aged and discriminatory bandwagon. Should be ashamed of yourself!

By Chris

Christopher is behaving like a spoilt child who hasn’t got his own way..
He could also do with brushing up his understanding of the democratic process as indicated by Steve..

By Tony P

This wouldn’t happen in Altrincham !!

By Chris Mc

Tony P is on the mark. Marks is entitled to his opinion.

By Big Steve

My previous comment has been deleted. I suggested that Mr McGoff’s tone was somewhat bullying. Maybe the editors have thin skins too – or maybe they’re frightened he’ll get litigious with them.

Either way, I’m with the other commenters here – why on earth shouldn’t a councillor stand up to a developer? We need more of this, not less.

By Anonymous

Mr McGoff has not done himself any favours on this occasion. Not only with his comments but the photo extracted from the 2018 ‘Tory Boy’ Calendar.
A little bit more diplomacy and a picture of him perhaps smiling along side one of his new care home customers..
Me thinks that would have advanced his plan a bit more positively..

By Ashley

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