Fury as house count rockets

The number of new houses in the area has risen above 1,600
The number of new houses in the area has risen above 1,600

Town hall officials are in uproar after controversial plans to build more than 100 homes in a “crowded” Wigan village were rubber stamped at appeal.

Wigan borough councillors and residents are outraged after HIMOR (Land) Ltd were given the go ahead by the Planning Inspectorate to build 128 houses greenbelt land off Rectory Lane in Standish.

The decision, which has been branded “disgusting” and a “disgrace”, was made following a public inquiry sought by the developers after Wigan Council failed to come to an agreement in the given time period. 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.

Coun 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 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. In the Planning Inspectorate documents, officials stated that the shortfall in Wigan’s housing delivery is “significant” estimating that the borough has under-supplied by around 2,500 dwellings.

Residents, who feel slighted by the constant influx of developments in Standish, have voiced their objections to the plans. “Disgraceful. The roads are not capable or compatible to take the strain of more traffic. Standish used to be lovely little village. That’s now gone. Rectory Lane just isn’t nice anymore it’s over crowded and schools won’t be able to cope much longer.”

Coun George Fairhurst, who has been campaigning against Rectory Lane developments for the past four years, has said that the latest approval will “wreck” the village further. “They do what they want to Standish,” he told the Wigan Post. “They have already ruined it. I thought they would have slung this one out. I’m absolutely fuming that it has been passed. Not only have they not thought of the infrastructure, the roads, the schools, the doctors and dentists which will just not cope with more houses, but there’s also wildlife to think about. They have got to live on this planet like we do.”

The appeal report, however, says that the impact on the transport network would be “minimal”. Residents’ group, Standish Voice, which is currently preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for Standish, has consistently raised concerns about the effects that thousands of new homes would have on the village. However according to the Planning Inspectorate, the plan, which is scheduled for consultation this summer, only added “limited weight” to the appeal due to it being in such early stages.

Furious Wiganers have taken to social media to slam the Planning Inspectorate’s decision.

Paul Stafford wrote: “Disgusting. They need to improve the infrastructure in the village and make these greedy builders pay for it. The bypass, doctors,schools. Not just a few quid towards a park. The traffic already is dangerous.”

Matthew Wilkes also raised concerns about the increasing pressure on infrastructure in the village, saying: “This town is just a pawn to central government and cash hungry developers, the infrastructure is going to collapse, in time yes but it will collapse. Time to build infrastructure now that the town is over filled. Money grabbing companies robbing wigan of its stunning countryside and amazing wildlife. Be nice to see some wildlife tourism set up to drive off these fools.”

Emma Appleton asked a question perhaps on many people’s minds: ”Can’t they manage to build anywhere else?