NORTHWICH councillors have said that they are determined not to let the same issues that blighted the Winnington Village development happen again at Winnington Works.

The comments were made at a public meeting attended by around 50 people held at Winnington Park Recreation Club on Tuesday evening.

It was organised by Winnington and Castle residents concerned by news that Tata Chemicals Europe is exploring the option of building 1,200 homes on redundant land at the industrial site.

And these concerns were put towards Cheshire West and Chester councillors Andrew Cooper, Bob Cernik, Kate Cernik and Sam Naylor.

Among the key worries from residents is what will be done to solve transport and infrastructure problems that are already prevalent in Winnington and would be exacerbated by another 1,200-home development.

Speaking at the meeting, one resident said: “Infrastructure is a massive concern for local people.

“Road access has got four or five times worse in the last five years, and that is the first thing that needs to be addressed.”

In response, Cllr Cooper, Labour member for Leftwich, said: “Cheshire West and Chester Council has been preparing for these housing plans for the past six years.

“We as councillors are desperate to avoid what has happened at Winnington Village, where a lot of homes are built but little is done about infrastructure.

“We are determined not to let that happen again.

“What we have been doing is trying to get everything lined up so that when the planning application is submitted, we are in the best possible position to get our priorities straight.

“We have adopted the Northwich Neighbourhood and CWAC Local plans, which are now in place, and we are compiling a transport and business strategy.

“This is to ensure that we are in a stronger position to say what contributions developers need to provide.

“We can’t promise what is going to happen, but we are trying to make sure that what happened at Winnington Village, when no policy was in place beforehand, does not happen again.”

A new bridge in Winnington has been a long-standing desire from residents for a number of years and is estimated to cost ‘no less than’ £40 million.

Funding for this would need to be acquired through section 106 contributions from the developer and funding grants from central government.

Addressing the issue, Bob Cernik, Labour member for Winnington and Castle, said: “Since I was elected in May last year, I’ve been looking into the history of developments in Winnington and into section 106 funding.

“We were taken to an appeal over money owed to us through section 106 contributions by Winnington Village developers and the court ruled 94 per cent in CWAC’s favour.

“When we were due to receive the funding, it went to another appeal which we won again, but then the developer appealed again.

“A new bridge was part of what the developer wanted to wriggle out of.

“It was saying that it hadn’t made enough money, but at the same time it had been selling on the leases of the homes and making a fortune.

“It is not illegal to do so, but it is immoral in my eyes.

“A new bridge would have to be a lift bridge because that part of the River Weaver is still in use and the overall cost will not be less than £40 million.

“We are currently compiling a design strategy that is due to be completed in Summer, and this will be oven ready for us to take to central government when competition for funding opens.”