Campaign pledge to fight major plan

People opposed to the proposals brave heavy rain to protest on Drummers Lane in Ashton
People opposed to the proposals brave heavy rain to protest on Drummers Lane in Ashton

Residents who registered their opposition to a controversial jobs and housing plan have been thanked by Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue.

The first draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework had attracted criticism for proposing development on green belt land.

From the start, there has been no meaningful democratic oversight

Yvonne Fovargue

And politicians across the region have echoed calls for it to undergo a significant re-write ahead of further public consultations.

Labour MP Ms Fovargue has strongly opposed one development site on greenbelt land close to junction 25 of the M6 and claims 3,000 objections have been submitted.

Ms Fovargue said: “In the past few months I have attended public meetings and listened to the anger, frustration and anti-democratic criticisms that have been levelled at the GM Combined Authority and the council for bringing forward proposals which in the case of junction 25 were considered and thrown out by an independent inspector in 2013.

“From the start, there has been no meaningful democratic oversight. Councillors have been bypassed and the public has rightly responded with a mixture of anger and frustration at an engineered top down process that has all the hallmarks of a ‘we know best’ mentality.”

Similar proposals to remove greenbelt status on land known as The Bell at Orrell near junction 26 have also been met with local opposition, with Wigan MP Lisa Nandy adding her voice to criticisms about the way in which the consultation has been conducted.

The GMSF proposes 25,000 homes and 15,000 jobs on several development sites across the borough. Council bosses have called the plans “massive” for Wigan’s future economic prosperity.

However, the issue has sparked a dispute in the top echelons of the council with Ms Fovargue’s husband, Coun Paul Kenny, recently sacked from his cabinet role for meeting with anti-GMSF campaign groups. Ms Fovargue met with members of the M6 South of Wigan action group this weekend.

Member Chris Green said: “This campaign is not driven by political motivation, it is driven by the passionate residents in this constituency. The local communities are abhorred that this is back on the radar.”