You’ve got to love the language developers use to try to sell a project.

Take, for example, this little gem: “Our vision is to create a development of a high quality and sustainable mixed-use neighbourhood with a series of distinct character areas that combine modern homes alongside quality facilities, recreational spaces, and employment to create a great place to live, work and play, within an attractive and biodiverse setting.”

This, of course, is the narrative in support of the application by TATA Chemicals Europe, INOVYN Enterprises and Gladman Developments, for a massive new development at the Winnington Works site in Northwich which will include with 1,550 homes, a care home, a local centre, shops and a primary school.

If it gets the go-ahead, the scheme will attract around 3,600 new residents to the town.

To be honest, I quite like the sound of the plan and I’m happy we now finally have some details. What’s not to love? Just look what we will get if it’s built: 1,550 homes including affordable housing; 11,000 sq m of elderly accommodation, including a residential care home; a two-form entry primary school with playing fields; a local centre with 600 sq m of space for shops, including a convenience store; space for health, nursery and community use; employment space; space for a café, restaurant, takeaway and a pub; a park, allotments and new connected green spaces; cycle and walkways.

As they say on Dragons’ Den, I’m in. It all sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? And it’s hard not to agree with the application when it says: “The scheme presents a unique opportunity to breathe new life into this brownfield site, which has been identified for regeneration in the Cheshire West and Chester local plan. All true.

But, and this is a massive but, what about a new bridge? Winnington Bridge has long been a massive bottleneck on one of the town’s major gateways and the prospect of adding more than 1,500 new homes and 3,600 new residents without a new river crossing does not fill me with optimism.

So I would respectfully suggest to the council planners that this scheme gets parked up until the infrastructure issues are sorted out.

  • On another subject, I notice that retailers Next, Morrisons and Ikea have changed their sick pay policies in response to the Covid pandemic.

Next has now cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff who are self-isolating after being in contact with someone with Covid-19. All employees who test positive for coronavirus, regardless of whether they are vaccinated, will be paid in full.

It’s the same story at Ikea which confirmed it is cutting sick pay for unvaccinated members of staff who are forced to self-isolate after being identified as a contact of someone with Covid-19.

Morrisons cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff members who are forced to self-isolate back in October last year.

Are these companies right to do this? I really think they are.

Legally, you can get £96.35 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. But the SSP rules were amended to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and now you can get SSP if you’re self-isolating because you or someone you live with has Covid-19 symptoms or has tested positive or if you’ve been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you’ve been in contact with someone with Covid.

Of course, many companies have enhanced sick pay schemes that make up most or all of salaries, usually for a specific period, but self-isolating because you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive isn’t the same as being ill yourself.

I’ve said before that unless someone has a valid medical reason for not being vaccinated, I simply have no patience for those who decline to get jabbed. I accept absolutely that people have the right to make up their own minds if they want to be vaccinated or not. That’s their decision and theirs alone to make.

But as my dad used to say, actions have consequences and I applaud Next, Morrisons and Ikea for taking this stance.

Sometimes your ‘rights’ come with responsibilities and have outcomes you think aren’t fair. But I’m afraid the anti-vaxxers are just going to have to suck it up in this instance.