COUNCIL chiefs in St Helens have unveiled ambitious plans to build 13,680 new homes in the borough over the next 15 years.
They want to see houses built at a rate of more than 500 homes a years and say green belt could be sacrificed to meet part of the target.
Council leader Marie Rimmer hailed the 197-page core strategy document as a key element in helping build a brighter future for the borough.
It’s publication comes as town hall chiefs are grappling with unprecedented budget cuts from Whitehall and are faced with making further cuts to protect frontline services.
The strategy also:
n Puts Parkside at the heart of future plans
n Clamps down on development in more affluent areas
n Aims to create a ‘sustainable’ future for Parr and other deprived areas
n Pledges more help for Earlestown
Most importantly, it creates a compelling vision of what council chiefs envisage life will be like in St Helens in the year 2027.
Coun Rimmer said: “This milestone is important. We have a plan that reflects the needs and aspirations of the people of the borough.
“Importantly is will allow us to say no to developments that we do not like and are not compatible with our borough.”
Work began on the strategy in 2005 and now faces a six week period of public scrutiny before it is adopted as official council policy.
Once it clears that final, the policies and ambitions laid out within it will be used as a framework to judge to merits of every future planning application.
It also spells out plans to help areas like Parr, Thatto Heath and Wargreave out of poverty by driving affordable housing and business to those areas.
g To view the full document, go the council’s website.
Development in already affluent areas will be kept to a minimum, and while the majority of developments will take place on previously developed land, there is an acknowledgment that some Green Belt land will have to be used, particularly in the later stages of the plan.
Under plans, the majority of the town’s retail space will be concentrated in the town centre and Newton, but with protection for smaller district arcades in Rainhil and Billinge.
Councillors voted on the plan at the last full council meeting and are research and consulting the public over the coming months for these documents.