IT is a great shame the GNWR Blackpool to London service will not stop at Winsford station.
Perhaps it was pinning hopes on the prospects of having this service stop at the town which drove the town/borough councillors and developers responsible for the Winsford neighbourhood plan to propose such a ridiculous number of houses for the ‘Station Quarter’ of Winsford, seemingly without a care as to wether the town’s infrastructure could cope or not.
Now that GNWR has confirmed the town will be bypassed, then surely this means any major development for the Station Quarter will result in a massive impact on traffic leaving and returning to Winsford at peak times.
This in turn seriously questions the sustainability and practicality of the WNP Station quarter proposal.
Irrespective of Winsford’s suitability for this train service, developers have come forward of the NP, applying for outline planning consent to build houses off Rilshaw lane (part of the Station Quarter).
It will be interesting to see if our fickle town council will object to this application with as much gusto as it has done with the Darnhall Estate application, quoting ‘the Darnhall Estate’s plan represented an over development of a rural location with loss of amenity and open space’ also raising concerns about impact on traffic and school placements.
If CWAC’s emerging local plan progresses without opposition then Winsford will have to ‘shoulder’ a 3,500-plus housing quota which is not specifically designed with the town’s best interests at heart, but is there to protect the hamlets and villages, around the borough of Cheshire West.
With this in mind the Winsford Neighbourhood Plan was meant to assist the town's local communities to safeguard parts of the town they as local communities wished to protect from over development.
Alas this has not happened. The external examiners report on the WNP is due at the end of June, it will more than likely mean a town referendum on whether to accept or reject the Winsford Neighbourhood plan.
This is a golden opportunity for all Winsford communities to regain control of ‘their NP’ and have a fair say in how their town should develop.
Winsford station is an asset for the town, but Winsford flashes are an even bigger asset. The town has a river running through it which could be put to greater use.
With a bit of imagination and investment, the town could become a tourist destination which would greatly improve Winsford’s economy and image.
Denise Doherty Winsford