Protesters win battle over development near m-way

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A CONTROVERSIAL threat to develop Wigan green belt is being scaled down after a public protests.

There have been significant revisions to the town hall’s proposed Core Strategy.

Residents hit out during the consultation period against a job-boosting proposal for factory and warehouse development of open land adjoining Marus Bridge/Bryn M6 Junction 25.

Council chiefs have confirmed that they received more than 2,500 representations from residents and action groups concerned that any such scheme would cause traffic problems and a loss of open space.

However the latest version of the council’s long-term plan for the future will now be considered on July 7 and after listening to the views of residents and respondents, planners are recommending a number of important changes.

Cabinet member for environment and regeneration, deputy leader of the council David Molyneux, agreed that they had put forward the new employment park in the belief that the borough could be missing out on investment opportunities from companies who are known to be looking for an M6 location because of enquiries with the authority’s economic development officers.

However due to the responses from residents, planners have reconsidered the initial plan and are proposing a ‘scaled-down’ version instead.

The new proposal will see the site reduced from around 40 to 30 hectares and the focus will be on the western side of the A49 – where it will have less impact on residential properties.

Planners are also now proposing to put in substantial new ‘green barriers’ to separate the employment site from housing in Winstanley, reputed to be Britain’s largest private housing estate development.

Coun Molyneux said: “Residents have spoken up about these proposals as part of the consultation exercise and the council has listened.

“We have assessed how we still might be able to identify a high-quality employment site but also address residents’ real concerns about the impact of the development on their properties.

“By reducing the size of the development and specifying some important new requirements, we feel we can still come up with a site that will produce many new jobs and benefit the Wigan economy but the potential detrimental impact on the local community will be minimised.”