Controversial housing development given green light

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Council leaders are in uproar after a planning inspector gave the green light to a new development of 128 homes on greenfield land.

Wigan Council expressed their "extreme disappointment" following the public inquiry ruling over an appeal by HIMOR (Land) Ltd for a residential development at Rectory Lane, Standish.

The council did not determine the application within the recommended time frame due to the release of revised household projections by the Government but was set to recommend that the application should be refused.

The development will now take the number of new homes to be built on greenfield land in the Standish area to 1,612 – far over the 1,000 allocation set in the council’s core strategy plan in 2013.

The inspector concluded that the council does not have a five-year supply of homes across the borough and therefore the development at Rectory Lane is needed in order to match demand for new homes.

The council did not dispute the lack of a five-year supply but argued that Standish had more than fulfilled its fair share of new homes and therefore the appeal should be dismissed.

The judgment also ended any hopes of allocating the land at Rectory Lane as green belt as proposed in the first draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

Councillor David Molyneux, deputy leader for Wigan Council, said: “This is an extremely disappointing decision which overrules the council’s intention to reject this application for more houses in Standish.

“We feel that Standish has provided its fair share of housing in recent years far above what was allocated in our core strategy plan.

“We stood up for the people of Standish but this judgment rides roughshod over local concerns and our planning strategy for the borough.

“As well as being an utter disappointment it also indicates the importance of being part of a robust Greater Manchester plan which is resilient when it comes under challenge from developers.”

The council also expressed frustration to have full costs awarded against them by the inspector which will impact on vital council resources.

Wigan Borough is currently unable to achieve a five-year supply of housing under the terms laid down by Government, due to the difficulty in bringing forward for development former industrial sites in low value areas the borough.

Councillor Molyneux added: “We will learn lessons from this ruling especially in redoubling our efforts to achieve a five-year supply of housing in the borough.”

The inspector also rejected concerns expressed by residents’ group Standish Voice over increased traffic in the area