BOROUGH chiefs are being urged to use a £14.7 million Government grant to build housing estates fit for the future in Winsford.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has been awarded funding from Homes England to speed up the process of building 700 new homes across the borough – including on three sites in Winsford.

The local authority already had plans for 900 new homes, meaning the funding will be used to take that total to more than 1,600.

Cllr Lynn Riley, leader of CWAC’s Conservative opposition, told cabinet on Wednesday that the grant is ‘fantastic news’ – but urged the council to ‘go further’ on the design of the new homes than it has done before.

She said: “I think there is quite a good understanding about the pressures for new homes, and so any new homes – particularly in the affordable or social rent section are to be welcomed.

“But there are obviously pressures on communities when new homes are built in sizeable clusters. There is an awful lot of interest nationally now about how homes look.

“The quality of design is starting to become very much in the public domain, and this is an opportunity for the council to both lead by example and to literally do what it says.”

The member for Frodsham also suggested that wider shared-use paths for pedestrians and cyclists should be considered at the new estates, while she claimed there is a ‘real opportunity’ to reduce residents’ fuel bills by adding solar panels to the new homes.

Cllr Brian Clarke, Labour member for Winsford Wharton and cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, insisted the council would take on board Cllr Riley’s suggestions.

He said: “I welcome this, especially on the sites in Winsford. The housing is needed there.

“We do have to design these estates, the housing and footpaths, to suit the modern day environment that we have – rather than just let the builders decide.”

Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, added that installing solar panels is a ‘brilliant idea’ – although it has been made more difficult for councils after the Government scrapped a subsidy for the panels in July.

The new homes set for Winsford will be built at Wharton Green, the former Handley Hill School and behind the Verdin Exchange.

Development will also take place in Ellesmere Port and Lache, in Chester.

The £14.7 million grant, which goes towards demolition and remediation costs at the proposed sites, must be spent by March 2021.

At least 30 per cent of the new homes will be affordable, and CWAC will work with housing associations on the project.