More homes planned at orica site

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MORE homes are planned for one of the borough’s most controversial housing sites.

Next week councillors will hear a new bid for development for the former century-old Orica explosives works site in Gathurst.

The site has been the focus of vocal resident’s protests over its future.

Builders Taylor Wimpey have already been given outline planning permission by the council for 89 homes in the Vicarage Lane end of the site.

But a detailed application set to be heard by the development committee on Tuesday shows a further nine to 98 two, three, four and five-bedroomed homes are being requested – taking the full number to 98.

They have already won outline approval for 15 homes on the Gathurst Lane aspect of the site, which houses bats, amphibians, red deer and several rare bird species.

‘No Homes on Orica’ signs dot the approach to both sides of the historic site, which had made former military and civilian explosives since 1888.

Wigan Council’s director of environment Steve Normington said that even with the larger scale of house building, the development would remain within the maximum ‘footprint’ already agreed.

He also pointed out that the scheme would mean removing baulky and intrusive industrial buildings that had detrimental effect on the openness of the green belt.

Land remediation procedures on the south of the site as agreed with the council when outline permission was given, have now been completed and workmen are now progressing towards the northern area of the complex.

He said the design of the housing development seeks to reduce the impact on the openness of the green belt, while adding character to the development by keeping homes away from the site boundary.

Objector Shevington Parish Coun Roy Bridge is angry that the travel plan on which the outline scheme was approved is already out of date because the number of houses has grown.

He said: “Vicarage Lane is totally inappropriate for the extra traffic that will be generated and there can be little doubt that St Anne’s Drive will turn into a short cut during periods of heavy traffic trying to exit onto Gathurst Lane.”

Councillors are being urged to approve the scheme.