Mixed views over Wigan village scheme

Improvements to traffic flow and congestion have been identified as the most important issues for residents in Standish.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 12:13 pm
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 12:14 pm
Standish High Street

But the council and a majority of residents are still not seeing eye-to-eye on one particular measure to tackle them.

Earlier this year, Wigan Council launched a survey asking for residents’ views on how to spend £6.6m, which needs to be used on specific schemes to mitigate the impacts of housebuilding in the area.

A list of viable options were presented aimed at improving traffic flow, cycling and walking facilities, parking and community spaces.

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Now the thousands of comments have been collated, the local authority can reveal the outcomes. Aidan Thatcher, assistant director for growth and housing at Wigan Council, said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone for their cooperation and patience while our teams analysed the terrific number of responses we received as part of the engagement exercise.

“We’ve now got access to rich local insights that will be incredibly useful in guiding the next stage of investment.

“It’s really important that we spend this money in partnership with the community, so we’ve already met with ward councillors and Standish Voice to share the results of the survey and keep them informed.”

The most significant scheme presented by the local authority was the widening of School Lane, which received a mixed response from the public to say the least.

The council points out that around 31 per cent of respondents rated School Lane widening as the least important of the five infrastructure options presented and 24 per cent of respondents rated it as the most important.

But residents’ group Standish Voice point to figures showing that six out of 10 respondents were not comfortable with this option compared to 37 per cent who wanted it.

Improving the pedestrian experience through 20mph speed limits, crossing points and newly laid footways on Pole Street, Market Street and Cross Street was rated as the most important by 29 per cent of respondents.

Mr Thatcher added: “Our traffic modelling suggests that School Lane would have a positive, long-term impact on congestion and traffic flow, which we know is a priority for residents.

“However, we recognise that there was also support shown for pedestrian improvement scheme.

“We must be clear that this option was brought forward by the public and its efficacy on the highway has not been tested.”

In addition to highways improvements, the council also shared the below options, which were all supported in the survey:

Extension of Quakers Place car park to create 40 new spaces;

Extension of Mineral Line improvements linking Standish to the town centre and Gidlow Lane;

Creation of off-road cycle routes linking Standish to Haigh and Aspull.

All options put forward in relation to open space and play, including improvements to Ashfield Park, Southlands Recreation area, Almond Brook and Robin Hill Drive were supported.

Some of the funds have already been committed to various education related projects, including the expansion of St Wilfrid’s CE (now complete) and Woodfold Primary School and the possibility of extending St Marie’s RC Primary in the future.

A spokesperson for Standish Voice said: “It is clear from the findings that most of the people in Standish do not want the widening of School Lane to go ahead.

“61 per cent of people were unhappy with this option while only 37 per cent were happy for it to go ahead.

“Standish Voice and our three ward councillors are totally against this scheme.

“We know congestion at rush hour is a problem in Standish but this proposal will not solve that, it will just waste £1.6m, encourage more through traffic, facilitate even more housebuilding on our green fields, ultimately increase pollution on the second most polluted road in the borough and ruin an entrance to our historic village.

“Sadly, it seems that the council is intent on pushing this proposal through, despite a people-friendly scheme to improve the village centre on the table that half the respondents to the survey were happy to endorse and which comes out of Standish Neighbourhood Plan, which more than 90 per cent of people in Standish voted ‘Yes’ to.”

Mr Thatcher added: “Now we’ve consolidated the feedback, the projects will go through the council’s governance process to determine which ones will be funded.

“Choices will be made based on which schemes will lead to the best mitigation of housebuilding impact, while also considering the important comments put forward.

“Design and costs will also need to be finalised, meaning there will be scheme specific consultations at a later date.”

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