MP to lead fight against greenbelt development

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue has vowed to fight plans to convert Wigan greenbelt into an industrial and housing site.

Wednesday, 9th November 2016, 10:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:50 pm
M6 j25 development

As part of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework - backed by Wigan Council - a vast area close to junction 25 of the M6 has been identified for development.

Ms Fovargue told the Evening Post she has in recent years led successful campaigns to preserve the greenbelt status of the land and has pledged to do the same again.

However, her stance will put her on a collision course with town hall bosses who say the masterplan must take advantage of the borough’s “strategic position” close to the M6.

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Yvonne Fovargue

The proposed plans for the junction 25 site - which are the subject of an ongoing public consultation - includes a blueprint for an additional motorway slip road.

Ms Fovargue said: “This proposal will give rise to the loss of open space and urban sprawl that will see Winstanley, Goose Green and Ashton/Bryn merge together.

“Brown field sites should be prioritised for development and we need a GMSF plan which reflects this.

“There is no doubt that residents living in the vicinity of the site will shudder at the thought of huge warehouses with HGVs clogging up an already busy A49 corridor that struggles to cope with current traffic loads and the impact on air quality.

Yvonne Fovargue

“I am not prepared to see the communities I represent subjected to this proposal and I am calling on residents to join me in the fight to protect our greenbelt.”

The Makerfield MP has scheduled a public meeting at St Aidan’s Social Centre in Winstanley for November 15 at 7pm.

Her office said the site was previously identified as part of the council’s core strategy plan as an area that could be stripped of its greenbelt status.

But a government inspector later ruled it should remain as greenbelt up to 2026.

The junction 25 site includes plans for 80 new houses but is predominantly earmarked for warehousing and industrial space.

Across the whole borough, the GMSF is hoped to create 15,000 new jobs and almost 25,000 new homes with sites near to junction 26 of the M6 in Orrell, a vast housing project in New Springs as well as sites along the East Lancs Road and close to the M61.

To mitigate the encroachment onto green belt land, the council has extended a section of greenbelt in Standish.

A series of drop-in sessions is being held for the public to find out more about the plan and to share their views. The public consultation runs up until December 23.

They are: Wigan Town Hall Atrium, November 10 3pm to 7pm; Atherton Community School, November 15 4.45pm to 8pm; The Grange Centre, Winstanley, November 24 4pm to 8pm; and the Turnpike Centre, Leigh, December 8 3pm to 7pm.

Deputy leader of Wigan Council, Coun David Molyneux recently told the Evening Post: “The question will be asked about brownfield sites, we still want to develop them but we know there is a shortfall in terms of quality sites.

“We’re good at turning out good level students in Wigan, I’d like to think we can be able to create quality jobs for them and that’s why we’re looking at quality sites.

“I think the GMSF will be fantastic for Wigan. We’re part of Greater Manchester and this will move GM forward.”

The amount of greenbelt land being brought into use is 4.7 per cent, meaning 95.3 per cent will remain.

A town hall fact-sheet has provided the following answer to the question why can’t all the housing be on brownfield land? “All brownfield sites that are suitable for housing with a reasonable prospect of delivery by 2035 have been included in the housing land supply.”
Related article Petition opposed plan for development