Residents won’t give up the fight

Save Atherton South walk to Howe Bridge Cricket Club

Save Atherton South walk to Howe Bridge Cricket Club

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THE decision to block a housing development plan shows residents are prepared to fight-back, according to a borough MP.

Wigan Council’s planning committee this week over-ruled officer recommendations to approve a development on open land in Atherton.

Seddon Homes had applied to build more than 100 houses on the plot off Bee Fold Lane but attracted opposition from hundreds of residents and local representatives.

The cross-party committee agreed that the borough’s Core Strategy – which has identified areas earmarked for new housing – had stated that this particular area should only be considered for development after other suitable locations.

Leigh MP Andy Burnham, who presented a letter of objection to the plans, told the Evening Post: “This is the right decision for democracy and for residents.

“It is a message to developers that we will fight-back and I am pleased that our objections have been listened to.

“We had a long debate about the Core Strategy (CS) and for that to be ripped up and ignored would just be wrong,

“We always thought that if the CS had any integrity then its recommendations need to be respected.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, Atherleigh councillor Pam Stewart moved to have the application rejected despite planning officials recommending that the committee approve it with conditions.

Objections were also presented to the committee from Couns Norman Bradbury, Susan Loudon, Jamie Hodgkinson, Mark Aldred and Karen Aldred.

Two petitions containing more than 600 hundreds had also been submitted.

Concerns were voiced over the development’s impact on nearby property values, subsidence issues at the site and a lack of speed.

At a previous planning hearing, Sarah Jones, for Seddon Homes, said: “This is a modest project but one that will make a valuable contribution to the range of housing in Atherton.

“The area isn’t included in the Core Strategy but has been accepted by the planning officers as suitable for housing.”

A spokesman for Wigan Council said the committee had voted unanimously to reject the plans.