Homes demolition fears as link road proposals are revealed

Residents on Meadowbank in Pemberton

Residents on Meadowbank in Pemberton

The re-emergence of plans for a borough-wide link road has sparked fresh fury from a residents’ campaign group who fear homes face demolition.

A Government report has included a route joining the M6’s Orrell Interchange through to the M61 at Westhoughton among several recommendations.

Heavy traffic on Warrington Road, Marus Bridge

Heavy traffic on Warrington Road, Marus Bridge

The town hall has said aspects of the proposals already match its own “strategic plans” and have said authority bosses are “really interested in the report.”

But campaign group Say No to the M58 link road say the report could mean their new Pemberton housing estate could be at risk of being flattened to make way for a major through-route.

Group chair Claire Heddle said: “This new report has completely changed the goal posts as far as we’re concerned.

“What we really want is to be told honestly what these plans are and whether our homes are safe.”

We’ve been put in a situation where we have bought what we thought were our dream homes and we face either being cut off or them being bulldozed

Claire Heddle

The campaign group, formed by families who have moved into Meadow Brook since 2012, claims they were kept in the dark about the link road when they bought their properties.

Previous incarnations of the link-road plan - once called route 225 - proposed a single carriageway which would have “isolated” Meadow Brook from the rest of Pemberton.

However, the group fears the link road being part of Manchester North West Quadrant Study, commissioned by the Department for Transport, now means a dual -carriageway through the land.

Mum-of-three Mrs Heddle said: “We’ve been put in a situation where we have bought what we thought were our dream homes and we face either being cut off or them being bulldozed.

“It’s the insecurity of it, we want to know what’s going on. Our group may need to have a re-think because it’s becoming a David versus Goliath situation. But we shouldn’t be simply dismissed because we’re a small group.”

Improved east to west road links through the borough have formed part of recent council infrastructure masterplans.

Deputy leader of Wigan Council Coun David Molyneux said: “We are really interested in this report and the proposals looking at tackling congestion on the north west section of the M60 and are keen to help progress these plans further. In particular the Northern Corridor proposal already matches Wigan Council’s own strategic plans for link roads to improve east-west connectivity through the borough via a series of interlinked roads to connect the M58 J26 (M6) to the A579 Atherleigh Way as part of the council’s Future Transport Strategy. We recognise increasing infrastructure is a crucial factor in helping to grow our borough and the wider GM economy.”

Bolton West and Atherton MP Chris Green said: “Although it is still early days, the people of Atherton, Daisy Hill, Westhoughton and surrounding areas will be very pleased to hear this long-awaited link road is back on the table after the plans were shelved by the last Labour government.

“Proposals for a link road have been talked about for decades whilst local people have had to put up with heavily congested roads without seeing any action. I’m pleased that the government is listening to my constituent’s concerns.”

Mike Worden, assistant director for planning and transport, said: “We only had approval in principle for the funding for M58 link road in July 2015 as part of a wider package of transport measures across Greater Manchester.

“The road was not a committed scheme before that.

“As soon as the opportunity for funding became certain the council included it within the Local Authority searches so any buyers would have been aware from this point.

“We have carried out a public consultation into these proposals and a planning application is expected next year. We have had discussions with the local residents at Badgers Wood with regard to designing the road and crossing points so as make it easier for them to walk in to Pemberton centre, which is one of the main concerns which they have.”