Urban expansion plans ‘contentious’

Gillian Bishop
Gillian Bishop

WIGAN has mapped out where our future generations will live.

The council’s controversial Core Strategy masterplan was suspended last year after the Government decided planners had failed to earmark enough housing land to meet the borough’s needs.

Now the ruling Cabinet is set to unveil a new potential programme to “find” the missing 2,500 homes identified by a Whitehall Inspector.

And it is proposing urban expansion into greenfield sites to create 16,500 new houses for families and the increasing number of single person households ... while recommending protecting (although defining) potential Green Belt development sites themselves.

However, with the first public protest meeting already held on Monday in Standish, town hall chiefs are under no illusions that some recommendations could prove to be almost as controversial as their predecessors.

They are committed to consult widely on the revisions - “writing to all neighbours of the broadsite options” - starting at the end of the month and running right through to September.

And if eventually rubber-stamped following a re-examination of the Draft later this year, the zones will be binding for the next 12 years.

They pledge that all the detail will be available on the local authority’s website.

Drop-in sessions with council planning officers are being planned in Standish, Golborne, Lowton and Atherton.

Corporate Places Director Gillian Bishop said that the new options effectively include all of the remaining land “safeguarded” for future development across the borough which were not put forward in the original Core Strategy submission.

She agreed that it may prove difficult to persuade residents why the council had to consult on options which may not eventually be taken up because it was necessary as part of the legitimate process to evaluate the best option.

Ms Bishop conceded: “It is anticipated that the options and proposals will be highly contentious in those communities that would be most affected.”