A pre-application advice request was submitted to Warrington Borough Council in Spring 2020 (PR/2020/04461) for the proposed development.  A summary of their feedback is provided below:

Principle of development impact on Green Belt

The project is capable of being regarded as appropriate development in Green Belt, according to para 145 (g) of the NPPF, not therefore requiring very special circumstances to be demonstrated. 

The physical development at Riverside Trading Estate is therefore capable of being acceptable in terms of impact on Green Belt, provided accordance with para 145 is clearly demonstrated, and that the proposals would preserve both the visual and spatial impact on the openness of Green Belt. 

There are clear potential benefits of the proposal including the potential contributions to the supply of housing and of affordable housing (for both of which there is a known deficit, where the “tilted balance” applies); the potential to improve upon the quality of housing for which a deemed consent exists; the potential to enhance the ecology of the site and part of the Trans-Pennine Way; the potential to improve the visual amenity of Green Belt; the potential quality and low carbon nature of the proposed residential development; and the potential delivery of a community café and jetty. Each of these potential benefits should be set out in detail as part of an application. 

The sustainability of the site – for example in locational terms in relation to trips to serve the daily needs of new residents by car and on-car means - should be demonstrated as part of an application. 

Principle of development - affordable housing

The Council’s great preference is for the delivery of all required affordable housing on site.

Residential Amenity – Interface and Privacy 

The proposed development is capable of being designed so that it accords with the Council’s minimum recommended interface distances. 

Compliance with the Nationally Described Space Standards should be achieved 

Residential Amenity – Noise; Land Quality; Air Quality 

Advice from the Council’s Environmental Protection team dated 12th June 2020 is that a full assessment of the various noise sources in the vicinity should be made and that land remediation proposals should take account of a ground gas generation source. 

There is not anticipated to be a need for air quality assessment. 

Highways Safety

Detailed advice from the Council’s Highways team dated 13th July 2020 has been sent separately.  Demonstration of appropriate highways safety should be be set out as part of any application.


The main ecological issues are likely to be proximity to the River Mersey and St Helens Canal.  A full ecological survey should be undertaken, and any recommended mitigation carried out accordingly. 

Flood Risk

Parts of the site are subject to high flood risk.  Any application should be accompanied by a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) which assesses the risk of flooding from all sources and sets out how the proposed development would be protected from flooding for its lifetime, without increasing the risk of flooding elsewhere. The FRA should show how the project accords with the Sequential and Exceptions approaches set out in NPPF, given the objective to guide new development away from flood risk zones 2 and 3.  


There are no foreseeable heritage bars to the grant of planning permission. 

General Design Issues 

The application should set out how the proposal would capitalise on its location near to waterways and to the Trans-Pennine Trail. 

General Design Issues 

The application should set out how the proposal would capitalise on its location near to waterways and to the Trans-Pennine Trail. 

S106 Obligations 

The application should show a policy compliant position, bearing in mind the Council’s adopted Planning Obligations SPD.  A detailed affordable housing statement and ideally a draft heads of terms, with an undertaking to cover our reasonable legal costs, should be submitted with the planning application.

WBC’s Highways additional feedback commented that:

  • Pedestrian and cycle access can be achieved via the Transpennine Trail that runs along the disused St Helens Canal;

  • Primary access, including for pedestrians and cyclists, is via Station Road which is unadopted highway.  Any proposal should try to offer improvement to this route in the form of footways and street lighting in order to ensure safe pedestrian access to the site;

  • Any application will need to be accompanied by a comprehensive Transport Statement (TS) focussing on the key constraints highlighted above. The TS will need to demonstrate that safe pedestrian access can be achieved from the site to the adopted highway boundary and beyond;

  • The internal layout of the site will need to demonstrate appropriate access and turning facilities for service and refuse vehicles and provide parking provision to the Council’s current standards.

WBC’s Environmental Protection feedback commented:

  • - Given the scale of the scheme, the location and the sensitive end use, current procedures would require the standard Contaminated Land Preparatory Works and Contaminated Land Completion Conditions to be attached to any consent granted for the scheme.

  • - No Air Quality considerations are required for the proposal of residential development at Riverside Trading Estate. It is likely that a CEMP would be recommended for dust controls, not necessarily required immediately on commencement of works, but would become an issue if parts of the development were brought into use prior to the completion of the entire development. 

  • This proposal does pose some potential issues which would need addressing thoroughly before the development was submitted for formal application. Residential amenity needs to be protected from both the existing surrounding commercial activities but also from the proposed new commercial craft/workshop units within the development site but also the community café and outdoor space.

  • Any public area lighting should be detailed with any application. It is not foreseen that any significant floodlit areas would be proposed for a residential area but localised lighting would be expected especially in the public open space and around the water ferry pontoons and café.

  • The community café would expect to get food and licensing informatives relating to any catering or licenced activities that may occur there.