New link roads could boost Wigan economy

The Northleigh development which could bring 1,700 homes and 50,000 square metres of employment land
The Northleigh development which could bring 1,700 homes and 50,000 square metres of employment land

Key environmental studies are set to get under way for two routes considered to be vital for the borough’s economic regeneration.

Council bosses have signalled a fresh push is being made on the long-awaited project to link Amberswood and Phoenix Way to Seaman Way at Ince.

And at the same time a preliminary ecological appraisal for the sprawling Northleigh initiative will be undertaken.

Consultants Wardell Armstrong have been commissioned, at a cost of £2,270, to consider the environmental impact of the Amberswood to Ince connection, as the existing information on the location is now more than two years old and would be considered ‘out-of-date’.

And The Environment Partnership, for a price tag of £4,759, has been asked to examine the Northleigh scheme, which would run from Atherleigh Way to Leigh Road, which has not specifically been covered up until now.

Emma Barton, assistant director of economy and regeneration at Wigan Council, said: “I’d like to emphasise that we are still in the very early and preliminary stages of these works,.

“But the council has long had ambitions for the development of these link roads.

“We believe that the implementation of the new roads would open up opportunities for employment and high-quality housing, which in turn would be beneficial for the local economy.”

Earlier this year developers St Modwens claimed that their plans for 325 homes, off Seaman Way, could kickstart the first phase of the Amberswood link road, even though town hall chiefs would much rather the land had been kept for employment purposes.

Their contractors were instructed that they would to conduct a survey of Ince Brook, to check for the presence of greater crested newts, which would have a bearing on their hopes for the project.

Meanwhile the Wigan Post revealed earlier this year that the council had given Northleigh, the prospective site for 1,700 new homes and 50,000 square metres of employment space, a £10m boost.

Northleigh had been shrouded in doubt, after administrators were called in at the end of 2016. But the 185-acre brownfield site got back on track after council officer held talks with Deloitte.