Plans for multi-storey car park at Wigan Infirmary are scrapped

Plans for a controversial multi-storey car park at Wigan Infirmary have been scrapped, Wigan Today can reveal.
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Freckleton Street car park, where 231 cars can currently park, was set to be transformed into a three-and-a-half-storey structure with 611 spaces, after Wigan Council approved the plans in 2020.

However, planning permission for the site off Wigan Lane was set to expire in September next year and since the project was given the green light, there has been no sign of working getting under way.

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And now the hospital trust has confirmed that the plans have been discarded due to the rising costs of building materials for a project of this size.

Freckleton Street car park where the multi-storey was to have been builtFreckleton Street car park where the multi-storey was to have been built
Freckleton Street car park where the multi-storey was to have been built
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Silas Nicholls, chief executive of Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), said: “With construction costs significantly increasing over the past 18 months, the capital investment associated with the building of a multi-storey car park at our Freckleton Street site is no longer a viable option for WWL.

“There are many other competing clinical developments to be considered by the trust against the available funding resource, however we fully recognise the need for additional car parking for both staff and visitors.

“With this in mind, WWL and Wigan Council are looking at a number of alternative solutions, such as making shared use of under-utilised car parking off-site, and we will continue to work on a joint car parking strategy to support the needs of both organisations to the benefit of both the public and staff visiting the area.”

WWL chief executive Silas NichollsWWL chief executive Silas Nicholls
WWL chief executive Silas Nicholls
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Coun Michael McLoughlin, who represents Wigan Central, said: “I was aware that nothing had begun as far as building this car park was concerned and I knew the planning permission ran out on September 9 2023.

"My constituents were also asking questions so I contacted Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) for an update.

"I was shocked to be told the trust could no longer afford to build the car park as nothing had been said publicly.

"At the time, I objected to the plans as the residents in my area were divided over whether they wanted it or not.”

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A total of 26 residents formally objected to the development due to design, traffic flow and loss of privacy and sunlight among other concerns as the car park would be overlooking the backs of several homes.

WWL had hoped having the new spaces in one place would improve problems with parking on the main hospital site.

It had been planned to scrap the current system of staff parking at Mesnes Park Terrace multi-storey and taking a shuttle bus from the town centre to the multi-storey and hand the car park back to Wigan Council for public use again.

But with the Freckleton Street multi-storey now axed, it is rumoured that that arrangement will not now be abandoned, but the authorities have yet to confirm this.

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Car parking has long been a problem at Wigan Infirmary with far too few places on the site for all those staff, patients and visitors who need it. This led in the 1990s to the introduction of residents’ parking zones in the Swinley and Whitley areas to prevent hospital users from leaving their vehicles outside homes in the area, many of which don’t have their own drives.