Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by CPRE Warrington (NT 04(a))

  CPRE Warrington welcomes the DTLR Press Release it seems to recognise and address the issue of English Partnerships continuing role in the development of Warrington we raised in our original submission to the Select Committee.

  CPRE Warrington particularly supports the "transfer of their non strategic Commission for the New Towns (CNT) landholdings to the most appropriate bodies, for example local authorities."

  We would however need a clear definition of "non-strategic" and also a definitive statement on how land transfer would be affected before fully endorsing it.

  We believe that any land should be transferred to the local authority providing direct accountability to the community and ensuring that decisions taken will support the Local Development Plan(s).

  It should not be transferred to any organisation that has very limited objectives and priorities, for example a Regional Development Agency or similar. This type of arrangement does not work, providing conflict with local authority priorities and town planning governance, as is currently the case with the English Partnerships arrangements.

  Any land transfer to the local authority should be without liability. As we identified in our original submission there are ongoing costs intrinsic to the New Town design that are substantially more than would normally be encountered. Any additional liability costs would invariably have to be met by the sale of some, or all, of the transferred land, leading to an unacceptable development "free for all".

  CPRE Warrington views the refocusing of English Partnerships on brownfield site development as a positive move. The organisation should develop an understanding and expertise in this area, which will be of benefit to local authorities finding it difficult to support the requirements of PPG3 and with considerable industrially polluted areas, for example Halton. Any initiative that supports the reuse of brownfield sites before greenfield development is welcomed by CPRE Warrington.

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