New housing plan given the go-ahead despite opposition

Town hall approves housing plan
Town hall approves housing plan

A Wigan housing site has been given the green light despite concerns about over-development.

Objectors to plans to build on vacant land off Heath Lane in Lowton said the area has already delivered its “fair share” in terms of the borough’s housing allocation.

But the town hall’s planning body granted permission to developer Alderwood Homes for 24 properties and committee members praised the ‘attractive layout’ of the designs.

The site adjacent to the East Lancs Road is also next to a Bloor Homes development for more than 100 homes already under construction.

A committee report highlighted that areas across Golborne and Lowton have been earmarked for around 1,000 homes as part of the borough’s long-term housing strategy.

However, as of January this year, planning consent has been granted to 1,213 homes.

Coun James Grundy, speaking against the plans, said objectors recognised it was small scale development but that he and residents were taking a stand “on a point of principle” because of the level of development in the area.

He highlighted that the council currently matches its five-year housing land supply targets and said there were air quality concerns in the vicinity.

He told the committee: “It leaves me rather bemused that we were told when we didn’t have a five year supply that it was a reason why we couldn’t refuse planning permission and now we do have a five year supply we’re told that’s not a good enough reason to refuse.”

Coun Grundy, who represents Lowton East, said the ward had already met its housing delivery obligations and called on the committee to reject the plan.

If they did approve, he added, mitigation measures should be in place such as earmarking section 106 funds for the Braithwaite Road play area.

Alastair Skelton, representing Alderwood Homes, said the location is part of safeguarded land for development and the positive five-year housing supply position ‘explicitly includes’ the application site.

Electric car charging points and an acoustic barrier from the East Lancs Road will be included, he added.

Initial designs included 26 houses and two entrance points. But changes had been made to reduce the number of properties by two and make it into a cul-de-sac, with a single access point off Stone Cross Lane North.

Conditions of approval include section 106 payments of £162,600 towards infrastructure improvements and £40,000 for off-site open space and play provision

Coun Fred Walker said officers and the developer had ‘come up with an attractive layout’ for the location.

Coun Janice Sharratt added: “The nearby estate is still being constructed and this could almost be the same estate.

“We’re only talking about 24 houses here, in relation to the one still being built, I don’t think this can be classed as over-development.”

Members voted to follow officer recommendations to approve the plans by seven to one.