St Helens Council has agreed to allocate a major employment site to meet Warrington’s needs because of a “duty” to co-operate.
The council has proposed to allocate 31ha of land adjoining the existing Omega South employment area to help Warrington Council to meet these needs for 2017 to 2037.
The Omega South Western Extension is on land north of Finches Plantation in Bold.
The move was revealed in the proposed submission draft of the St Helens Local Plan 2020-2035, which is due to go before full council today (Wednesday).
“St Helens and Warrington Councils have identified, under the duty to co-operate, that the emerging Warrington Local Plan is unlikely to be able to accommodate all of Warrington’s employment land needs for 2017-2037 within its administrative boundary,” the Local Plan said.
“St Helens Council has therefore agreed to allocate 31.22ha of land adjoining the existing Omega South employment area to help Warrington Council to meet these needs.”
The Local Plan said the council has “co-operated extensively” with nearby districts in preparing the strategy, as set out by the government’s planning policies.
A council spokesman said joint working between planning authorities is “integral” to the strategy.
“The National Planning Policy Framework (2018) states that local planning authorities are under a duty to cooperate with each other on strategic matters that cross administrative boundaries,” a council spokesman said.
“It goes on to state that effective and on-going joint working between relevant bodies is integral to the production of a positively prepared and justified strategy (two of the tests of soundness of a Local Plan).
“In particular, joint working should help to determine whether development needs that cannot be met wholly within a particular plan area could be met elsewhere.”
Under the current proposals, the nearby 30ha Omega North Western extension will be ‘safeguarded’, which means it cannot be developed on for 15 years.
The site will form an extension to Omega North in Warrington.
Any future plans for Omega North needs to ensure the site can be satisfactorily accessed from the highway across land outside the site.
It will also have to ensure that it can be developed, in conjunction with other sites, without causing “unacceptable impacts” on the highway network in Warrington.
The St Helens Local Plan is expected to be approved by full council today (Wednesday).
An eight-week publication period will begin in January before the plan is submitted to an independent inspector.