Speak out now!

Edward Thwaite of Hesketh Meadow Action Group at Rothwell's Farm in Lowton, one of three proposed sites to be developed by Wigan council

Edward Thwaite of Hesketh Meadow Action Group at Rothwell's Farm in Lowton, one of three proposed sites to be developed by Wigan council

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CAMPAIGNERS are being urged to redouble their fight to save open land from developers.

Lane Head South Residents Group fought an energetic battle when the council first announced proposals to designate hundreds of acres in Lowton for new homes under the first draft of their emerging Core Strategy masterplan.

But they are now calling for a fresh push following the unveiling at the council’s ruling Cabinet this week of revised proposals after a Government inspector halted the examination process when he identified a 2,500 home shortfall in the town hall’s home supply calculations.

Planners have now come back with extra housing development options for the area - a fresh round of consultation will open at the end of the month - with Lowton alone now set to provide 1,770 homes by 2026, out of a possible eventual total of around 2,210.

Large tracts between Stone Cross Lane and Lowton St Mary’s could see 650 homes built at East Stone Cross Lane, Pocket Nook (1,560 homes) and Rothwell’s Farm (430 homes).

Now residents’ group association is urging the community to make sure that they have their voice heard in this next round of consultation.

Their chairman Peter Sergeant, a retired local government planner himself from Kenyon Lane, says that, with green belt proposals elsewhere in the borough not being presented by the council as serious options, the use of Lowton to solve the perceived housing shortfall will be a “racing certainty” without sufficient challenge from within the community.

He has criticised the consultation procedure and believes that the revised Draft Core Strategy, because of its profound potential affect on so many households, should be the subject of a special edition of the council’s Borough Life magazine.

Mr Sargeant said: “This is one of those occasions when the expression of local opinion matters and acquiescence may otherwise be taken for granted.

“Quite what signal the council is trying to send out it is difficult to gauge.

“However, it very much looks as though different communities are being set against one another or encouraged to divide among themselves.

“Where ever these houses might be constructed, more homes will affect travel patterns and educational provision, plus flooding and other issues or potential concern.”