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Planning permission sought for Wigan armed forces hub

Withnall House
Withnall House

A planning application has been submitted for the borough’s long-planned armed forces hub.

Wigan Council has requested permission to change the use of the offices at Withnall House to a facility for the borough’s Sea Cadets and an army rehabilitation centre.

Related: New location announced for Wigan armed forces hub
The proposal includes both alterations to the existing building and the construction of a single-storey extension along with new security fences and gates.

The local authority has moved quickly since unveiling the new hub location last week as the town hall tries to meet its ambitious goal of getting the first phase of work done by the end of March.

That will mean the Sea Cadets and military organisations being on site within weeks, with the bespoke building connected to the existing site by a corridor intended to be ready at some point in 2018.

Emma Barton, assistant director for economy at Wigan Council, said: “The armed forces hub will be a fantastic facility for the whole region and is a great example of how we are leading the way in Wigan borough.

“By moving the hub, we’ve been able to revisit earlier ambitions of including a new build, which is an exciting prospect for both service users and the town centre.

“We are very enthusiastic about this invaluable asset and would like to thank the armed forces community and traders for their cooperation and input which has helped us shape the outcome of the project.

“We’re excited that an opening date is now is sight and look forward to keeping everybody updated with the hub progress over the next few weeks.”

The proposal shows a 1.8m high fence being built around the new centre and security gates being installed. An external plan shows footpaths being laid to the entrances for the new building, with drop kerbs near the car park side for easier access.

There will also be a new drop kerb put on the School Lane side of the building. New trees will be planted along the School Lane boundary and there is some landscaping work proposed there too.

Wigan Council previously looked at Withnall House for an armed forces hub but were instead forced to plan for the facility being in the market hall.

But officers say the building became available late last year and they snapped it up as it has a car park and is in a self-contained location slightly out of the busy town centre.

The plans are backed by organisations including the Royal British Legion and is being funded by a mixture of a council funding pot, Ministry of Defence money and the cash from the sale of Wigan Sea Cadets’ old building.

Neighbours were sent consultation papers on the plan last week and they have until March 10 to send comments or objections.

The standard consultation for anyone not living nearby ends on March 7.

A target date of April 10 has been set for a decision, which has been delegated to officers but could have to be considered by the planning committee if there are enough objections or a councillor calls it in.

To see the proposals, search for application A/18/85052/LA on the planning section of Wigan Council’s website.