Wigan residents step up their campaign against plans for new employment park
Hundreds of people have objected to plans to build an employment park in Wigan - and campaigners want even more to have their say.
Developer Glenbrook submitted a planning application in the summer for permission to transform the 40-acre site, Meridian 6 Wigan, which would act as an extension to the South Lancashire Industrial Estate in Ashton.
The firm said up to 1,500 jobs would be created on the site, which would be accessed via Bolton Road.
But people living nearby are concerned about the impact it would have and are campaigning against it through Keep Ashton Green.
More than 3,000 people have joined the group’s Facebook page, while members have held street stalls and even knocked on doors to make people aware of the proposals and gather objections.
So far 220 letters opposing the scheme have been sent to Wigan Council’s planning department. Coun Danny Fletcher, who represents Ashton and set up the Keep Ashton Green group, said: “It’s the most objections there have been in Wigan for years.
“It’s even nearly double The Galleries development, which is quite an emotive proposal as well.”
The group has the support of Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue, who has written to the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick asking for the decision to be called in if it is given the go ahead by the council.
Coun Fletcher says the application will not be considered by councillors until next year and people have been given more time to submit their views, so he wants as many Wiganers as possible to have their say.
Campaigners will continue to hold stalls and knock on doors as they encourage people to object to the scheme.
Coun Fletcher said: “The campaign itself is focused on the developer wanting to build on 40 acres of green space next to Three Sisters.
“Our primary concern is the road infrastructure in Ashton is not fit for purpose. It needs upgrading before we have anything like an industrial development or more houses built. That’s our primary concern.
“In 2008 it got rejected for the same reason - because the road infrastructure wasn’t suitable - and nothing has changed except it’s got busier.”
He said other concerns were that part of the development would be on green belt land and the amount of air pollution that would be caused.
The land has been marked for employment use since 2006 and Glenbrook plans to invest £70m to create the site.
Aimed at “meeting the significant regional demand from small to medium-sized businesses”, the site will consist of up to 625,000 sq ft of industrial space.
Dan Symonds, development manager at Glenbrook, previously said: “The land has been allocated for employment redevelopment since 2006 and is the last remaining allocated site of scale within the borough.
“Delivery of the scheme will certainly play a major role in Wigan’s post-Covid recovery with inward investment, job creation, apprenticeship opportunities and development of local supply
“In terms of planning, the engagement we received during the public consultation period was particularly useful, with the feedback now very much influencing our latest scheme design.”
Keep Ashton Green will hold a short protest against climate change on Saturday to coincide with COP26 in Glasgow. Wigan Trades Council has written to schools in the area to invite staff and pupils to take part. It begins at noon at the Gerard Centre.
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