A public consultation on controversial plans to build a massive logistics hub will be run again after residents complained about a host of technical problems.
Wigan Council has responded to calls for people to get longer to have their say on db symmetry’s proposal for land near junction 25 of the M6.
Furious objectors said the council’s online planning portal had refused to accept login details and it had not been possible to view all of the documents.
It was feared that some people wanting to criticise the plan may have given up trying to work the website, meaning the true strength of feeling would not be put before planners.
Scores of objections have been logged but the local authority says it will let people give their views again as the process did not run smoothly.
Marie Bintley, assistant director of growth and housing at Wigan Council said: “It is important that local people are able to have their say on planning applications conveniently. Our new online planning system is designed to make this process easier for residents and applicants by allowing them to see updates in real time.
“We were made aware of a technical fault last week, which meant that two documents that should have been available throughout the consultation could not be accessed.
“We understand that this has affected people’s ability to comment and as a result, we will re-run this consultation.
“Those with properties neighbouring the site will be written to again, informing them of the extension.
“Any comments that have been sent through via email or uploaded onto the system have already been logged and do not need to be re-submitted. All relevant information will be available on our website.
“We would like to apologise for the inconvenience and would like thank residents for their patience while we rectify this issue.
“This application will be considered by planning committee at the appropriate time in line with national and local policy. Committee will take into consideration all representations when making their decision.”
One resident who tried to submit views during the consultation said: “I have tried and tried to object to the development but each time there was a fault. I rang the council, left my details but received nothing back. It was as if they were truly not interested in my comment or input.”
Another resident, Samuel Phoenix, said: “In reality we have been given little to no time to object due to inefficient systems.”
Residents also claimed amendments were made to the plans during the consultation period, but Wigan Council said this was not the case.
Residents, local politicians and environmentalists have been horrified by the amount of greenbelt building involved in the plan, while db symmetry’s claims of a jobs bonanza for Wigan have also come under fire.
Pollution and congestion in the area have also been raised as major concerns for those objecting.
To view the full application search for A/18/85947/MAJES on the planning section at www.wigan.gov.uk