Green light for housing access plan

Houses on the Mere Oaks cul-de-sac
Houses on the Mere Oaks cul-de-sac

Outline permission for a housing development at the site of a former Wigan school has been granted despite objections from residents.

Fears had been voiced the building works on the site of Mere Oaks off Wigan Lane will cause significant disruption to current homeowners.

But members of the town hall’s planning committee went along with officer recommendations to give the scheme the green light.

The matter before the committee was a bid for access permission for the site - with space for five houses - meaning building contractors are allowed to enter past the current Mere Oaks cul-de-sac.

Speaking at Tuesday’s decision meeting, ward Coun Michael McLoughlin spoke out on behalf of the homeowners but failed to convince his colleagues a separate entrance to the site could be created to avoid disruption.

He said: “From my consultations with residents I have concluded that it is not the building of up to five houses per se to which they are objecting.

“Rather it is all of the upset and turmoil of the construction phase of the project which will interrupt their lives.”

Council documents reveal that residents had written to the town hall claiming previous assurances had been issued from local authority bosses that no further development would be allowed on the site.

But planning officers recommended it for approval having found no reason to object.

Their report reads: “The proposal is consistent with national and local policies which promote residential development within sustainable locations, providing they can be accommodated within the existing infrastructure.

“It is considered that the principle of developing the site for residential use is acceptable, subject to further assessment at the reserved matters stage.”

The developers will have to return to the committee to seek approval for appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the houses.

Coun McLoughlin added: “The part of the plan residents find most objectionable is to access the proposed building site through the residential Mere Oaks cul-de-sac.

“I am at one with the residents in regarding this aspect of the proposal as unreasonable and therefore unacceptable.

“The carriageway of Mere Oaks was not designed to take construction traffic. It was built to serve the needs of residents.

“Construction traffic will transform the quality of life for residents for a sustained period.

“I sense that residents would be far more sympathetic should temporary access to the site be allowed from Wigan Lane.”