MPs voice concerns over massive housing scheme

MP Jo Platt
MP Jo Platt

A vast Wigan housing development project that has attracted objections from MPs faces its first planning hurdle next week.

A developer is hoping to gain permission for up to 830 homes on more than 30 hectares of former mining land and sections of green belt south of Atherton town centre.

The town hall has earmarked the outline plan for approval as the borough is not able to demonstrate a government required five-year housing supply.

Planning committee members will today be told concerns have been voiced by Labour MP for Leigh, Jo Platt, and Conservative MP for Bolton West, Chris Green, in addition to local councillors.

Objections from residents, with 60 letters sent to the town hall, also outline objections about the loss of open space, impact on infrastructure, air pollution and whether there are more suitable brownfield sites.

The Coal Authority says the industrial legacy of the location ‘potentially poses a risk’ and has advised investigation works will need to take place before any development can start.

Developer Tarleton Estates Ltd is hoping to have the usual three-year deadline to submit reserved matters applications for the site extended to 10 years.

A planning report prepared for the committee reads: “For the scale of development proposed this is deemed acceptable and is not an uncommon request on larger, more complex housing developments where build out rates dictate a longer time frame for submission.”

Plans include new public open space areas and access points from Leigh Road, Bee Fold Lane and Crab Tree Lane.

The council says the ‘majority of the site is safeguarded land for future development’ and is ‘in a highly sustainable location’ although two ‘small’ sections along the southern boundary are within the green belt.

The report adds: “The borough currently lacks a five year supply of housing land, and the development of this site would contribute to addressing this.”

The developer will have to agree section 106 contributions, including highway improvements, play equipment, school places and affordable housing for the site which is currently agricultural land.

If approved, attached conditions will include requirements to ‘protect a high pressure gas main that crosses the site’ during the construction phase and for a coal mining risk assessment to take place in advance of any works.