Councillor's fears over increasing number of Wigan homes

An aerial view of Pepper Lane
An aerial view of Pepper Lane

Extra homes on a controversial Wigan development site have been approved, despite concerns they will add to a village’s congestion crisis.

Bloor Homes North West already had planning permission for 300 homes on land south of Pepper Lane in Standish, with phase one of the scheme – relating to 47 units – already under construction.

Coun Ray Whittingham has expressed fears about the effect housing is having on the village infrastructure

Coun Ray Whittingham has expressed fears about the effect housing is having on the village infrastructure

Wigan council’s planning committee this week approved a revised application for 304 homes, bringing the total to 351.

Members were told the increase could be ‘the straw that breaks the camel’s back’ for the village that has seen permission granted for more than 1,600 houses in recent years.

Speaking in opposition to the application, Conservative ward councillor for Standish, Adam Marsh, said: “A pressing issue that has been transformed into a crisis due to other housing developments is the existing transport infrastructure.

“While this increase may seem like a drop in the ocean in relation to existing planning permissions for developments in Standish, every small addition may well prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

“Standish is more congested than ever before and residents are moving away because going through the centre of the village at rush hour every day is having such a negative impact on their lives.”

He added that residents were already faced with “unusually high” waiting times at the village’s health centre.

Planning officers told the committee the council’s director of public health had raised no issues with a health impact assessment and the village ‘has a surplus of primary care capacity which will offset the additional demand’.

In addition, transport officers said the increase in vehicles as a result of the extended plans would cause a ‘negligible’ impact on rush hour traffic.

However, committee member and Coun Marsh’s Conservative ward colleague, Coun Ray Whittingham, said the impact of all the development in Standish should be taken into account in terms of congestion.

He said it can take more than half an hour to travel two miles through the village during peak periods.

A planning report said the increase in units was mitigated by the ‘introduction of smaller house types which can be expected to be occupied by fewer people’ and the borough ‘cannot currently demonstrate a five-year supply of land for housing development’.

The report added: “The proposal would deliver 76 affordable homes, provide a high quality residential development within a sustainable location and make a valuable contribution to short term housing need in the borough.”

Committee members voted by seven to one to approve the application subject to section 106 agreements relating to contributions to improve education facilities, public transport provision and highway improvement works, among others.