FURIOUS residents are demanding Wigan Council give them a chance to have a say on a controversial new road scheme.
People living near the site of the planned Almond Brook Link Road, in Standish, say they have not been properly consulted on the plans to roll tarmac across an area of countryside to serve proposed new housing developments.
The £5m link road, which forms part of the infrastructure work connected to Wigan Council’s Core Strategy to meet the borough’s future housing needs, is expected to run from Almond Brook Road to Preston Road and is intended to ease congestion at the crossroads in the centre of Standish.
However, recently-formed campaign group Stop Almond Brook Link Road (SABLR) says the case for the new route has not been convincingly made by the Town Hall and a public meeting should be held to address residents’ fears.
SABLR secretary Sarah Djali said: “The vast majority of people in Standish only knew about this £5m road after the council’s cabinet approved it. We have a right to know about proposals that affect our local community.
“The council has said there is no time to consult on this road. That is not good enough. This is a major scheme that needs to be properly thought through.
“The council must come and explain this plan to the people of Standish.”
SABLR says it is concerned about children walking to and from Standish High School, saying increased traffic could lead to exhaust fumes harming pupils’ health.
The group, which attracted around 100 people to a public meeting at Standish’s Unity Club last week and also organised a spin-off event last weekend, also believes the link road will cut across public footpaths while damaging wildlife habitats and the countryside.
SABLR also says it has concerns the link road could actually increase the amount of traffic running through the area rather than ease queues on the roads.
Ms Djali said: “The council has not shown it will ease traffic in Standish centre. This proposal could actually increase the amount of vehicles, including HGVs, by attracting them off the motorway, acting as a bypass to Chorley. It will make congestion in this part of Standish much worse.”
The Core Strategy sets out the number of houses which the town hall believes should be built until 2026 to meet the demands of a growing population and recommends 1000 houses should be constructed in Standish, 500 at Almond Brook and 500 at Rectory Lane.
The document also recommends a number of traffic network improvements.