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Peel Hall – a haven for nature and wildlife

Wendy Johnson-Taylor
By Wendy Johnson-Taylor

A sad farewell to wonderfully wild Peel Hall, as Warrington Borough Council’s decision not to allow development on this hugely valued site is overturned at appeal. Words by Wendy Johnson-Taylor, photos by Ste Dodd, both of the ‘Save Peel Hall’ campaign group

These beautiful photos were all taken on Peel Hall, the last, natural green space left in North Warrington in Cheshire. Enjoy them now because in the not-too-distant future this land is making way for a major ‘multi-use’ development and up to 1,200 homes.
The plant and wildlife that has thrived over decades will be ousted out to make way for bricks and mortar.

Residents have fought gallantly for over 30 years to protect this space, the stalwarts becoming planning, hydrology, engineering, and ecology experts, but a few months ago the fate of Peel Hall was rubber-stamped in Westminster. These residents who fought so hard still cannot fathom out how two equally experienced Government planning inspectors, reviewing the same planning application, can end up poles apart. One dismissed it at Public Inquiry stage, the other, after the landowner went to the High Court, approved it at an appeal.

The irony is that this land was farmland. It’s classified as ‘greenfield.’ The landowner has waited and waited for the end game. It has been a long campaign fight spanning decades, but finally Peel Hall became the sacrificial lamb to the slaughter.

This little sanctuary begins where other roads end. Why? Peel Hall was destined to become part of the then New Town Corporation sprawl but, a dedicated team of officers deemed it unsuitable for development. No groundwork was ever carried out, so Peel Hall was allowed to blossom. It was described as farmland when it was sold at a bargain price – the rest is history.

Peel Hall is now landlocked by mature communities that enjoy the open green space and the joys that nature can bring. It has allowed our children to appreciate Mother Nature first hand rather than finding out via television or burying their heads in computers.

This ‘Dr Green’ has been working its wonders for years. It acts as a sponge during heavy rain events and its green lungs absorb some of the highest levels of air pollutants recorded in the region. Levels are so high Peel Hall falls into two Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). Over the years Peel Hall has now become encased by a busy road network, including the M62 and studies have shown that such high air pollution levels contribute to premature deaths every year in our town.

Thousands of residents will now lose this beautiful, natural, peaceful place. Plant life and natural habitat will be destroyed – our wildlife will have nowhere to move onto. God help them all.

he authorities seem to be content with the grim and meagre offerings by developers to protect ‘levels’ of biodiversity. These ‘acceptable’ balances are well and truly skewed!

Our little green haven is being sacrificed. How much more are we going to lose?

The Save Peel Hall Campaign Group logo is: ‘Too Late When It’s Gone ….’ Too true.
When its gone, it’s gone for good.

Save your green spaces guys, do whatever it takes to protect them. Peel Hall was the only natural, green space we had left….

Peel Hall Ste Dodd