School site to become housing estate

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THE eyesore site of a former Wigan school looks set to become a major housing estate.

Planners are said to be just days away from approving an application from developers to build 120 houses and 20 apartments on land formerly occupied by St Thomas More High in Newtown.

Speculation about the site has been rife, ever since plans were first announced in 2005 to close the school due to falling rolls.

Major commercial projects, including extra retail developments, were mooted, but came to nothing, the school closed its doors in 2007 and was demolished a year later. Then the recession came and little, if any interest, was shown in the prominent site off Robin Park Road.

But last year, Redrow Homes submitted a planning application for homes there, and landowners Liverpool Roman Catholic Archdiocese confirmed today that it had agreed to sell the site to the housebuilder, so long as planning approval is secured.

A council spokesman said, that barring last minute hitches, approval now was “imminent.”

A consultation exercise was launched last summer, following submission of the application and, as the scheme received no objections, the planning committee agreed to delegate the decision over its progress to an officer.

It appears that Redrow will be granted permission, on condition of a Section 106 agreement – a requirement that the developer includes something that benefits the community. In this instance, it will be that 20 of the units fall into the affordable homes category.

The application includes landscaping, road infrastructure and access.

A spokeswoman for Redrow said: “We do have a resolution to grant planning permission for 140 properties on the site of the former St Thomas More school.

“It is subject to a section 106 agreement, details of which are being finalised with the local authority.

“Subject to this, and concluding the purchase of the land, we hope to be offering homes from our popular New Heritage Collection in the near future.”