Developer ‘let residents in too soon’

The canal bridge on Gathurst Road near The Baby Elephant Indian restaurant Shevington
The canal bridge on Gathurst Road near The Baby Elephant Indian restaurant Shevington

DEVELOPERS transforming a controversial explosives site for housing has been accused of jumping the gun.

The Mayor of Wigan ceremonially opened Taylor Wimpey’s Oakwood Meadows site last week which is based on part of the former ICI Nobel’s industrial gelignite factory and includes a ground-breaking Shared Equity affordable homes scheme backed by the Council.

But now a Shevington parish councillor says that the builders have allowed at least two of the homes to be occupied in breach of planning permission.

A key condition to the approval stipulated was that “no dwelling on the site shall be occupied” until all parts of a traffic congestion-busting Give Way scheme on the hump-back bridge over the canal on Gathurst Road were completed “in full accordance with the approved scheme.”

Taylor Wimpey would only say that its designs for the bridge traffic scheme have now been approved by the council highways department and it has now appointed a engineering contractor to carry out the work.

Independent parish councillor Roy Bridge, who lives in nearby The Oval, claimed that “once again” housing developers were riding a “coach and horses” through the borough council’s planning regulations.

He alleged: “After removing trees outside the planning boundary, extending their fence and planting onto land we now discover they are selling and occupying houses in flagrant breach of planning regulations. If I personally had not discovered this and brought it to the knowledge of the borough council I have no doubt that it would never have been known about.

“It does beg the question as to whether the incompetence and lack of policing of this site by the Borough Council is by accident or design.

“They were not kidding when they told me that ‘we don’t have the time to stand over the developers.’

“We must also ask the question why did Shevington Parish Council and our district councillors not see this? They were very quick throwing planning law into faces of objectors to this development, yet obviously blind to the developers breaking them. Perhaps Taylor Wimpey think paying for a flowerbed gives it the right to pull the wool over residents’ eyes, even though it cost the ratepayers for removal of a section of fence and a road sign so it could be photographed for the In Bloom competition.

“I think the borough council should be considering ensuring there are no other breaches on this site, starting with the de-contamination that was carried out and the protected woodland with its wildlife which is still guarded closely from the public.”

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “Approval for our designs has been received from the Council’s highways department and the terms of the highways agreement (Section 278) have been established.

“A contractor has been appointed to undertake the works.

“It is important to note that due to the works being to the existing, adopted highway, the timing and phasing has to be carefully considered. To this end, we are currently liaising with Wigan with regards to agreeing a commencement date.”