Plans for a massive logistics scheme in Wigan which has promised a jobs bonanza but also attracted considerable criticism have been submitted.
Developer db symmetry says it has asked the council for permission to build symmetry park Wigan, which would be located close to junction 25 of the M6 near Winstanley.
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The proposals for the enormous development include large logistics buildings with landscaping around it, with the site as a whole covering around 1.44m sq ft of employment space.
The developers claim the plan for the former colliery site will bring up to 1,650 jobs to Wigan and promise a substantial green buffer between the hub and the nearest homes in Winstanley.
However, just about every claim surrounding the development has been robustly challenged by environmental campaigners and local councillors appalled at the amount of greenbelt building and sceptical over the figures surrounding jobs and the economic boost to the borough.
The business park is proposed for a location between the motorway and Warrington Road.
As plans went in db symmetry and leading business figures talked up the case for symmetry park Wigan, saying it would represent a £73m economic investment in the borough bringing £3m in business rates into the council's coffers per year.
They also say the local authority itself has identified the location as suitable due to being close to the M6.
Andrew Dickman, managing director of db symmetry, said: “The council has identified that Wigan needs to do more to attract and retain businesses in the borough, and particularly those that need larger, modern premises.
"The Employment Land Position Statement shows an immediate need for high-quality sites with access to the M6 and has identified symmetry park Wigan as a suitable site.
“When fully operational, symmetry park Wigan could deliver 1,650 high quality jobs in the logistics sector from entry-level operatives to supply chain managers, with automation in the sector requiring increasingly skilled technicians.
"We’re working closely with local employment and training providers to ensure that people across Wigan can access these opportunities and build a career in the logistics sector.
“We’ve consulted with the local community in preparing a detailed and robust planning application. As a result of the consultation we’ve decided to move our boundary further away from people living in Winstanley, leaving a substantial green landscaped buffer to the north of the site.
“We’ve also looked carefully at the potential traffic impacts of the development and how these will be managed. The site is in an excellent location for logistics with direct access to the M6, meaning vehicles can avoid residential areas.”
Phil Eckersley, Wigan President of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “Logistics is an increasingly important sector for the North West and for Wigan.
"This development will deliver much needed high-quality jobs that won’t just benefit the local area – people from across Wigan will be able to access the training and employment opportunities provided.
"Investment in modern employment sites will help ensure Wigan remains competitive and benefits from the economic success of the region. The M6 is the most important route for road freight in the UK.
"Developing this site will enable Wigan to take advantage of its strategic location and increase its share of the jobs market.”
Developers held two drop-in events for local residents in May. The council is likely to make a decision by the end of the year.
If approval is granted building work is expected to start next year, with the whole development completed by 2026.