Opinion split on barrier plan

The barrier at the centre of the debate

The barrier at the centre of the debate

An action group, set up to oppose the removal of a traffic control barrier, believe the plan will lead to thousands more vehicles heading through Orrell every day.

The Barrier Action Group believes that 1,000 more lorries, 1,000 more vans and nearly 6,000 more cars will chose to travel from Martland Mill Business Park up to the M58 and M6 through already busy junctions.

The group has also accused the council of already having told one large haulage company that the barrier on Walthew House Lane will be removed, despite the consultation still being open.

In an open letter, the group said: “ The council have apparently told a large haulage company that the route is already open, despite telling us that it will be 6 months before any decision is made.

“This has lead to an increase in lorry drivers driving to the barrier to then having to reverse, making the original problem much worse.

“Also after the Wigan 10k the gate has been sabotaged by someone who has put on a padlock and the key is in the hands of lorry drivers who are unlocking the gate, driving though and then locking it up again behind them so no other lock can be put on.

“All to this needs considering against the fact the council haven’t even mentioned the fact there is a mine shaft directly below the road, which we still await confirmation is able to withstand the weight and volume of traffic that will cross it. “

A video, sent to the Wigan Evening Post, clearly shows a lorry driver step out of his vehicle, open the barrier and drive through before closing it again.

The group said it had performed its own survey of traffic coming out of the bottom of Martland Mill and heading towards the M58. They believe this traffic would instead head through Orrell if the barrier was opened.

It has also accused the council of not notifying people who would be affected by this, including St Peter’s Catholic High School.

But there are people who want the barrier to be removed.

Rob Evans, from Cheeky Monkeys +2 charitable trust, hopes opening it will divert traffic away from Kitt Green Road and City Road.

He said: “We have handed a petition into the council with 500 signatures in favour of the barrier being removed and we have around 300 more still to hand in.

“There is a 20mph limit along Kitt Green Road but no body travels at the speed limit.

“We have a church. schools, crossings and shops along here and a children’s playground.

“The road hasn’t been built for HGVs but the road at the top has been - it is reinforced and has things like the speed camera under the bridge.

“We have speed bumps but they don’t stop anyone speeding and you imagine the sound it makes in the earlier hours of the morning when the HGVs go over them.

“About 90 per cent of the people in Kitt Green want the barrier open.”

Wigan Council sent letters out to residents in August with details about the plan explaining that it hoped removing the barrier would improve road safety and traffic flow by diverting traffic away from the residential areas of Kitt Green.

Residents on Walthew House Lane had complained that HGVs were travelling down the road by accident and then reversing back along the street and turning around on unsuitable roads.

The council asked residents to send in letters with their thoughts on it by September 9.

But the consultation period has since been extended to September 19 due to the vast number of responses the council has received.

Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure, said: “The consultation period has been extended until Monday September 19 and we would welcome any further comments from residents before this date.

“Once this consultation process has finished we will be carefully reviewing all of the responses. Road safety is our number one priority and we will do what we can to work with residents to find a solution.”

All responses should be sent to Assistant Directo - Legal, Town Hall, Library street, Wigan WN1 1YN with the reference number RD/LS/RD/LS/JOH/CL 48/204.