PUPILS will be put at risk by plans for a new Wigan town centre car park.
That’s the claim of two community groups who are calling for the brakes to be applied to a scheme to turn the site of a former building on Standishgate into a small car park.
Critics say cars manoeuvring into and out of the tight boundaries could cause danger for youngsters walking to the nearby Mabs Cross and St Mary and St John’s primary schools.
The move is the latest twist in a long running furore about what should be allowed to replace the former listed shop premises, demolished by the council for public safety reasons after a gable end collapsed.
The site clearance was carried out amid claims the building had been deliberately allowed to fall into dereliction so that developers could capitalise on its prominent location.
But architectural guardians Save Wigan Building Preservation Trust, supported by Swinley Residents Association, have criticised the scheme and pleaded with councillors to change parking restrictions ... or face a potential tragedy.
The “neighbourhood-friendly” option for the land being pursued by the groups would be to lease the land to nearby Acton Motors Garage.
Save Wigan said that due to recent changes to parking along this part of Standishgate by the council, cars are now able to park on both sides.
Spokesman Brian Parr said: “This is now causing bottlenecks around the time of school drop offs and collections at St Mary and St John directly opposite the site.
“This poses additional danger to traffic, pedestrians and children crossing the road at these times in the vicinity of the local schools.
“Additional traffic flow directly out of the application site over a public footpath and out into the highway will only exacerbate the problems along this part of Standishgate.
“Due to the low number of car parking spaces proposed by the plan it is not worth the disproportionate and additional safety risk. Vehicles entering the site from the north will have a blind spot for small children proceeding down Standishgate towards the town centre.”
Consultations close on February 27, with the application due to be considered by planning councillors in March.