Peel Hall In Warrington, Satnam Millennium, P Appletons
Approved landscape plan for Peel Hall, which could hold up to 1,200 homes thanks to a recent secretary of state decision. Credit: via Appletons

Secretary of state green lights 1,200-home Peel Hall appeal

Julia Hatmaker

Satnam Millenium has secured approval for its Warrington neighbourhood after it was initially refused in 2017 over traffic concerns.

Satnam aims to build up to 1,200 homes ranging from houses to apartments to bungalows on more than 170 acres of land bordering the M62 to the north and Poplars Avenue, Windermere Avenue and Grasmere Avenue to the south. Of the possible 1,200 homes, 30% would be affordable housing.

The approved outline plans include five new access roads, a local shopping centre with a grocery store of up to 21,500 sq ft, a school and a care home. The planning inspectorate estimates that the scheme could inject £150m of private sector investment into the Warrington economy simply from the construction efforts.

Citing the lack of a five-year housing land supply in the area and potential economic improvements, the secretary of state said the benefits of the scheme outweighed traffic concerns.

However, the secretary did note that providing highway improvements, bus services, school facilities and off-street parking would be necessary to mitigate the impacts the development would have on traffic. Completing a series of off-site highway works is one of the conditions for approval.

It has been a long road for the Peel Hall project, which was refused by Warrington Council in 2017 and initially dismissed by the secretary of state in 2018. The High Court overturned the decision in 2019, with the judge arguing that the secretary of state had not factored in the benefits of the scheme when making their decision, had misinterpreted the National Planning Policy Framework and had given undue weight to the deliverability of the scheme.

In a statement, a council spokesperson expressed disappointment over the secretary of state’s decision.

“We understand that many of our residents and communities will be left frustrated by the outcome,” they said.

“The detail of the decision and supporting report is lengthy – more than 150 pages – and we need to understand the full contents of this documentation before we consider the next possible steps.”

The project team for Peel Hall is:

  • Appletons – environmental statement co-ordination, landscape architects and masterplanning, ecology and arboriculture
  • Transport Planning Associates – hydrology and flood risk
  • Highgate Transportation – transportation and highways
  • Nexus Heritage – archaeology
  • Miller Goodal – air quality and noise
  • Lichfields – socio-economics and social infrastructure
  • 3D Reid – masterplanning and block design

Read the secretary of state’s decision

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That’s 1,200 new gas boilers and 2,400 car parking spaces at Peel Hall, locked in for the next 100 years, in ticky-tacky boxes by the side of the motorway. And the level of gaming involved in Biodiversity Net Gain (‘wildflower rich meadows’ anyone?) calculations at both Peel Hall and Parkside is a scandal. Sadly the planning and ecological ‘professions’ are complicit in all this. I’m embarrassed to be a town planner and ecologist. What do I tell my 9-year old about what my profession did during COP26?

By Peter Black

Clearly the inspector disagrees with you and your opinions. Accusing your own profession of being ‘complicit and gaming’ just sounds like sour grapes to me.

By DJ

It depends on what weight the inspector attaches to environmental aspects (probably quite little) and the extent to which they’re familiar with how biodiversity calculations are made and the assumptions upon which the conclusions are based (probably minimal awareness).

By Planning Game

That is true, in that scenario they are guided by GMEU who had no issues with the submitted surveys, mitigation and calculations. As GMEU do know how biodiversity calculations are made, it must have been acceptable.

By DJ