'Five-mile detours and damage to local businesses' - campaigner bids to thwart four-month Wigan bridge replacement scheme
Untold damage and disruption to a Wigan town’s life will be caused by a bridge replacement scheme, it was claimed today.
A planning application has been submitted to Wigan Council by Network Rail to demolish the Ladies Lane railway bridge next to Hindley Station and replace it with a new one as part of works on the Wigan-to-Bolton electrification project.
But campaigning resident David Culshaw says the four months of work will have a devastating effect on local businesses and cause huge detours for motorists in a town already notoriously bad for its traffic jams.
The works are part of a multi-million rail enhancement programme to electrify 13 miles of track between Lostock Junction and Wigan North Western.
Hindley Residents’ Association has objected to the plans while Mr Culshaw has submitted an application to Historic England to get the structure listed which would thwart the demolition.
He said: “The first a small number of residents knew about the proposed development was a notice tied to the lamp-post opposite the station entrance.
"People north of the development will be faced with a five-mile detour through Whelley or Westhoughton to visit the Pennygate Health Centre.
"It will have a huge knock-on effect for the area.
"Some small businesses may very well go to the wall.
"The bridge was built in the 1840s; it is a historic unit that should not be demolished.
"I’m urging Network Rail to have a re-think and go back to the original plan of lowering the track which will improve disabled access.”
A Wigan Council spokesperson, said: “This application to the Local Planning Authority (reference A/22/94455/18PDA) is not an application for planning permission. The works proposed at the railway bridge at Ladies Lane Hindley, relate to the Wigan to Bolton electrification project for the railway line.
“Under part 18 class A of the General Permitted Development Order 2015 (as amended), Network Rail are only required to apply to the local planning authority for prior approval as to the design and siting of the works.
"These are the only matters for consideration on this application, and as such the council is not able to take other matters into consideration.
“However, we understand from Network Rail that a temporary pedestrian bridge will be installed during the works to minimise disruption to local residents.”
Wigan Today has also contacted Network Rail for a comment and are awaiting a response