Last-gasp bid to save former care home from bulldozers
A last-ditch bid has been launched to try to save an historic building until recently owned by the local authority which could be flattened for housing.
A petition calling on Wigan Council to save Oaklands Home in Lowton has been set up on the campaign website 38 Degrees.
The Newton Road building, which was originally the home of a wealthy business family and then became a children’s facility and a site for local authority offices, could be bulldozed to make way for 28 new homes.
The community in Lowton is now desperately seeking public support against that idea, which is currently being considered by the town hall planning department.
The petition, started by concerned local resident Nicole Broome, has been fully backed by the Lowton East Neighbourhood Development Forum (Lendf).
But it looks like it could already be too late after the council said that the premises had already been sold and that a planning application for housing there had now been submitted for council consideration.
But protestors have not given up their fight and say that had the premises been in a different part of the borough it would be better protected from such a fate.
Lendf chairman Ed Thwaite said: “Oaklands is one of five houses along that stretch of Newton Road. It was built in the 1880s. It was then given to the council and my understanding is that it was used for the benefit of local children.
“If the building was in other parts of the borough near Wigan or Leigh town centre it would have been listed. It has some interesting architecture.
“This is the last straw. It has all happened very quickly. It would be sacrilege to see it go. I do think it is a shame the extension was put on it as that has spoiled it somewhat but it is very sad to think it might be pulled down.
“The grounds are full of mature trees and there is a lot of wildlife in there because it hasn’t been maintained or manicured for years.”
Oaklands was more recently used by social services for its headquarters, but Wigan Council said recent moves to cut the cost of maintaining buildings had now left it without a purpose.
Penny McGinty, assistant director for corporate contracts and assets said: “The Oaklands building in Lowton is not a listed building, nor is it in a conservation area.
“Following the relocation of the council’s adoption services to new premises, Oaklands was deemed surplus to the council’s operational requirements.
“As a result, we took the decision to sell the building to ensure it does not sit derelict and become unused.
“The site was marketed for sale and a successful bidder has now submitted a planning application.
“As with all planning applications, the planning department will consider all representations and the application will be assessed against local and national policy.”
The decision on Oaklands’ future is currently delegated to council officers. A verdict is expected by the end of the year.
To find out more go to Wigan Council’s website and search for application A/18/86157/MAJOR
To sign the petition, search for Save Oaklands Home - Lowton on https://home.38degrees.org.uk