Homes to be built on former Wigan high school site

The site of a former school in Wigan is set to be turned into 61 houses.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 2:09 pm
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 2:31 pm
The now demolished Abraham Guest High School in Orrell
The now demolished Abraham Guest High School in Orrell

Plans for the housing development at the former Abraham Guest High School site in Orrell Road have been approved by Wigan council’s planning committee.

A mix of two, three and four bedroom homes, including townhouses, detached and semi-detached dwellings, are due to be built on the empty land in Orrell.

A quarter of the houses would be affordable with the remainder sold privately.

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An artist's impression of how the new homes will look

It comes after a planning application for an ‘extra care’ scheme with 101 apartments was approved in 2015 – but the development did not go ahead.

Councillors on the planning committee unanimously approved the latest proposal for the site by Morris Homes at a meeting on Tuesday (July 13).

But 19 neighbours wrote to the council objecting to the planning application.

Alexander Elms who lives in Shelley Drive told the committee that there are ‘major traffic issues’ on Orrell Road and ‘a lot’ of car accidents in recent years.

Speaking at the meeting, the resident whose property would border the new estate said the additional cars would exaccerbate an existing issue in the area.

He said: “While we’d like to see the development used for something, the current plans would just put a strain on every type of service around here.

“We would like to see something done, we just feel that this plan isn’t suitable for us.”

Wigan council traffic engineer Kenny Strode confirmed to the committee that there had been four accidents on this part of Orrell Road over the last five years – but they were all attributed to driver behaviour rather than road layout.

He said there would be a ‘small increase’ in traffic caused by the new homes.

There will also be a zebra crossing created as part of the development.

The developer has agreed to contribute £105,469 towards open space and play improvements at Redwood Park which is located to the south of the site.

A further £91,860 will be put towards secondary school education in the area.

Golborne and Lowton West councillor Gena Merrett supported the application on the basis that it is a ‘brownfield derelict site’ which is being redeveloped.

The former headteacher also said the school would have created more traffic.

Winstanley councillor Paul Kenny agreed. He said: “This is a brownfield site. My personal view on these matters is that we should try to develop used land.”

Leigh East councillor Fred Walker also voted in favour of the application – but he was critical of the design, calling for more chimneys to make it ‘interesting’. He said: “It’s the most boring bit of design I’ve ever seen in my life.”

The application was unanimously approved by the planning committee.

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