Driving home the car jam

Protestor Pat Crosby from Save Standish Committee
Protestor Pat Crosby from Save Standish Committee

A FOUR-wheeled demo rolled through a Wigan village hoping to offer a “taste of things to come”.

The drivers’ protest was intended to deliberately create the enhanced level of rush-hour congestion at the infamous Standish crossroads it’s feared residents will see a lot more of should the threatened 1,000-home new housing developments on Bradley Hall and the former golf club site eventually take place.

Around 50 Save Standish members and vehicles - some bearing protest posters in the windows - took part and completed a circular route during the hour and half event, which took them through the junction several dozen times.

The demo had been organised by Standish independent councillor Gareth Fairhurst and his father Coun George Fairhurst.

One onlooker told the Evening Post at the height of the demo that the junction featured such lengthy tailbacks during the Friday drive home hours it was “very difficult to tell” if the protest had any visible effect on the length of the queues,

But organiser Coun Gareth Fairhurst said that the demo was never intended to stop traffic or unduly disrupt commuters.

He insisted the protest was to draw attention to the sheer number of vehicles already using a junction also used by large amounts of commercial traffic crossing from the M6 to the M61.

Coun Gareth Fairhurst said: “It was good to see so many people getting in their cars and driving around in the demo.

“People knew how bad it could get and they either went home a different way, worked late or finished early to miss it.

“While residents had the choice and could do that for one day, if the houses are built, they have to remember that this will be the case every day and not the exception to the rule but the rule itself.”

Council assistant director of planning and transport Mike Worden said the council was preparing a masterplan to help assess the impact of this level of development on the infrastructure of Standish.

He said: “This work is under way and includes assessing the impact of new development on the highway network in the Standish 

“New traffic surveys have been completed and the data is now being assessed and modelled and this is scheduled to be completed by the end of August.”