Fears that new estate will worsen parking woe

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THE train-use boom is helping to choke a Wigan community with cars, it has been claimed.

Residents living in the streets near Hindley railway station told borough planners that despite the new Park and Ride facilities in the former goods yards, Manchester commuters are blocking up adjoining streets with parked vehicles.

Some 16 households have objected to proposals for a new housing estate on land next to Forbes Close because, they told the development committee, workers using the train to get into the city were already causing traffic problems.

Councillors decided to defer a decision so they could visit the site before next month’s meeting.

An unnamed spokesman for the objectors, who lives himself in Forbes Close, told the meeting: “We already have overspill from people using the railway station and parking their cars daily in the close. If this development was to go ahead there is a chance that more people will use our Close to park with the new ease of pedestrian access via Forbes Close to Railway Street and the station.”

He added that the latest National Travel Survey for the Department of Transport found the proportion of households with two or more cars has increased from 17 per cent in 1985/1986 to 33 in 2011. The witness said the most conservative estimate would mean “doubling” the traffic passing through Forbes Close.

But architect John Flinn, who appeared on behalf of the developers, described the land as the type of “windfall site” that the council was being encouraged by the Government to make full use of.

It answered all the planners’ policies and was “100 per cent residential and 100 per cent sustainable” which complied with massing and house size guidelines.

The proposed two-storey design of the proposed houses was “in keeping” with those in the immediate community, he added. And he pointed out that the council’s planners had agreed to alter the access road design so there wouldn’t be problems having the new homes being serviced by bin or utility lorries.

Director of economy Steve Normington said that the original application had proposed a new pedestrian link from Forbes Close to Charles Street, which links in with Railway Street. But after accessing the proposed scheme, this has now been removed.

Mr Normington, who is recommending approval of the project, said: “While there are benefits in providing an accessible link between Forbes Close and Railway Street, consideration is also given to the wider area, creating a route which may cause additional crime and anti-social behaviour.

“On balance the removal of the access would not have an impact on the sustainability of the scheme, as residents within the new development would still be able to access Hindley railway starting from Hoade Street and Ward Street.”

The site visit will take place next month.