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In January 2016, we appointed Ove Arup and Partners (Arup) to undertake a Green Belt Assessment for the local authority area of Warrington designated by Green Belt.
Warrington’s Local Plan Core Strategy was adopted in July 2014. Following its adoption, a legal challenge was made by a landowner with respect to the housing policies contained within the Warrington Local Plan Core Strategy, in particular the Plan’s housing target. This was subsequently successful and the High Court decision in February 2015 resulted in the Plan no longer having a housing target.
In order to assess the implications of meeting its housing need in full, Warrington needs to consider the potential for additional housing to be delivered in the existing urban area. These could be achieved through:
Warrington also needs to understand how the Green Belt performs against the role and function of Green Belt as set out in National Policy. This will enable us to consider whether there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ (under paragraph 83, NPPF) to justify altering Green Belt boundaries through the Local Plan process to enable existing Green Belt land to contribute to meeting Warrington’s housing needs. This Assessment represents part of the up to date evidence base which will inform the Local Plan review.
The aim of this Green Belt Assessment is therefore to provide us with an objective, evidence-based and independent assessment of how Warrington’s Green Belt contributes to the five purposes of Green Belt set out in national policy. It is an initial assessment and there'll be the need to undertake more detailed site specific assessment work as part of the Local Plan review process. This Assessment does not consider whether ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist or make any recommendations relating to the alteration or review of Green Belt boundaries.