Green light for borough homes plan?

The plans will come under the microscope at a Wigan Town Hall planning meeting
The plans will come under the microscope at a Wigan Town Hall planning meeting
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Developers have opted not to make any tweaks to a controversial housing development site before it appears before Wigan’s planning committee for a second time.

A decision on outline plans for up to 830 homes in Atherton was deferred in July after members agreed with residents’ concerns that an access point to the site poses a safety risk.

The delay was against officer recommendations and despite the council’s highways team and Transport for Greater Manchester’s backing the scheme.

Councillors said they were adopting a “common sense” approach and asked for further discussions to take place between the developer Tarleton Estates and the town hall.

A report published ahead of today’s meeting reveals discussions have taken place and “a further information report” has been submitted by the developer aimed at providing further detail and clarification.

But it adds that this “does not involve any changes to the application and has not necessitated any further consultation or publicity.”

Officers therefore recommend the committee approve the bid, highlighting the council cannot currently demonstrate a five-year housing supply.

The bid for the land south of Atherton includes access from Leigh Road, Bee Fold Lane and Crab Tree Lane.

Coun Fred Walker, Labour member for Leigh East, told the previous meeting: “I know that is not the best site for access off Leigh Road. Common sense says we defer it for discussions with the developer.

“No-one is arguing about the principle of development, here. I haven’t heard a single objection. I think most of us could live with a simple realignment a little bit further down the road so there would be better sight lines.”

The committee also heard residents’ concerns about road safety, congestion and the underground high pressure gas main running along the site.

Coun Stuart Gerrard, Independent representative for Atherton, said: “We’ve got to put the residents’ health and safety first more than anything and I really do think this needs to be deferred.”

Objections have also been received from MPs Chris Green and Jo Platt, but the report adds: “For clarity it should be noted that the application had not received any objections from any of the technical consultees including those relating to highways and transportation matters.”

Highways officers say moving the Leigh Road junction further south would involve using land of St Michael’s Church, which could in turn “cause a significant delay whilst achieving no benefit to highway safety”.