MP objects to urban village plan
Residents campaigning against a massive development received a political boost after a local MP officially objected to the project.
Makerfield parliamentary representative Yvonne Fovargue sent a letter to the town hall saying why she is against the South of Hindley proposal.
Wigan Council and Peel Land and Property are jointly putting together the bid for up to 2,000 houses, business premises, a school, a health centre, sports facilities and landscaping across a swathe of land in Hindley and Hindley Green.
However, in her letter to the town hall’s director of environment Paul Barton, Ms Fovargue raised major concerns about the unsuitability of infrastructure in the area, problems with the road network, the traffic impact and the fact there is currently no affordable housing in the scheme.
She also raised a number of environmental points and discussed deep local concerns about asbestos on a former factory site in the area under consideration.
Ms Fovargue said: “I remain concerned about a number of the issues I have previously raised with the council and therefore wish to object.
“It is unreasonable to ask the residents of Hindley and Hindley Green to accept that the traffic congestion will get much worse, maybe for a period of 15 years, before it gets better by virtue of the housing development link road.
“The cumulative impact of existing traffic problems in the area together with the journeys including construction traffic to and from the new development will indeed be severe.
“The only solution would be to complete the link road at the beginning of the development in the very early stage of the first phase
“I question the ability of the council to determine whether the scale and nature of the proposed development is acceptable without being made aware, at this stage, of the traffic impact of specific phases of the development.
“This outline application, for a sizeable percentage of the borough’s future new housing stock, does not propose to include affordable housing at the present time and there is uncertainty about future inclusion.
“It is not in line with the council’s core strategy policies that affordable housing can be not just reduced but excluded altogether. All outline applications should contain an element of affordable housing.”
Ms Fovargue also says caution must be taken in construction work because “many residents remain convinced and concerned that the developer will unearth asbestos as the site is developed.”
She also asked the town hall to carry out a development impact assessment on education provision beyond primary school level and asked for worries about loss of green space and increased likelihood of flooding be taken into account.
She also asked if, given the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework considerations have revealed Wigan’s housing need projection is 50 per cent lower than originally thought, such a large development is appropriate.
Ms Fovargue’s objection comes as dozens of residents are thought to have written to the council against South of Hindley.
The Facebook group No To South Hindley Urban Village, dedicated to opposing the plan, now has around 2,500 members.
The development has also been vociferously opposed by both Labour and opposition independent councillors in Hindley and Hindley Green.
It is now expected that the planning committee will consider the outline application, which covers access to the site only, towards the end of this year.
Responding to the arrival of Ms Fovargue’s objection letter Becca Heron, Wigan Council’s director for economy and skills, said: “The application has been submitted to the local planning authority and officers dealing with the proposal will assess all of the responses in line with national and local planning policy, including the issues raised by the MP.
“Once all of the information has been assessed, the application will be presented to planning committee for decision, which we anticipate will be in December.”