Councillors slam 'wholly inadequate' Standish parking plan

Proposed parking as part of plans to invest millions of pounds on new infrastructure in Standish is “wholly inadequate”, councillors have said.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 12:00 pm

Extra parking is amongst the ideas drawn up by Wigan Council for the village, which is being asked how they want the £6.5m from housebuilders to be spent.

Standish is notorious for a lack of spaces for cars, and local councillors Adam Marsh and Ray Whittingham said the proposals to mitigate the parking impact of several new housing developments are just not enough.

Although they did welcome the council’s efforts to find space to create extra car parking in Standish through proposals on Quaker’s Place, they said the current proposal on its own “doesn’t address the scale of the parking problem.”

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Coun Marsh and Whittingham on land off Preston Road, Standish - which could be a parade of shops and a car park

A consultation is currently being carried out into proposals for Standish and how to spend section 106 money from developers.

Couns Marsh and Whittingham said: “We do welcome the council’s efforts to find space to create extra car parking in Standish through the Quaker’s Place proposal.

“However, the current proposal on its own is wholly inadequate, and doesn’t address the scale of the parking problem in Standish.

“No other district centre of Standish’s size has such little parking.

“The council don’t seem to grasp how pressing or urgent this problem is – to both local businesses and residents.”

The pair said that more parking could be provided on a parcel of land on Preston Road opposite Bargain Booze, which could be home to a parade of shops.

A while ago, they said the owner of the land had offered to put down a suitable surface and allow residents and shoppers to park free of charge until the site was developed, with no cost to the council.

But they said the landowner later withdrew his offer after a “glacial pace” response from the local authority which, the councillors said, put in “unnecessary obstacles” such as requiring it to be fully tarmacked and the fact they did not have the budget at the time to meet these requirements.

They added: “On extra car parking in Standish, where there is a will there is a way.

“No-one is saying that it is going to be cheap, and it may well require more than simply using section 106 receipts.

“But there was an opportunity to use section 106 to match fund a significant new car park in Standish.

“It’s just the latest example of the council refusing to put any significant investment into Standish.

“Instead, we’ve been told by senior council officers that all Standish will get is our share of the Our Towns Fund – which is a pot of £600k for use across the borough – which will come nowhere near the investment required.”

Wigan Council said it recognised there were concerns around some of the ideas proposed and urged residents to give their opinions by taking part in the consultation.

Coun Paul Prescott, cabinet member for transport, environmental services and planning said: “Prior to this consultation, discussions have taken place with interested parties and local groups that have helped form the options available.

“The legislation governing the funding does not allow for complete freedom on how the money can be spent and any schemes do have to help mitigate the adverse impacts of housing development that has been granted.

“We are fully aware that there are strong opinions on important issues around traffic calming and travel, which is why we created this survey to gauge public feeling.

“In addition to the survey, we held a virtual consultation event last night with Standish residents and representatives in order to explain some of the schemes in more detail.

“We are encouraging every resident in Standish to complete the questionnaire, which will close on Sunday (March 21).

“We recognise how important it is for the community that we spend the money in a way that will benefit residents the most.

“Residents’ view will also be used to shape the final plan.

“Separate to this process we are also continuing to explore opportunities for other sources of funding for infrastructure."

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