Developer bids to overturn Wigan planners' decision to block a multi-million-pound industrial site

Developers who want to build a multi-million-pound, job-spinning commercial park in Wigan are taking their case to Whitehall after a snub by planners.

Opponents of the Glenbrook masterplan to create 625,000ft sq of industrial, storage and distribution space with offices in Ashton voiced dismay that their battle isn’t over after all.

The site is located south-east of the South Lancashire Industrial Estate, off Lockett Road, a green space residents say they use regularly.

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Keep Ashton Green campaigners protest in the townKeep Ashton Green campaigners protest in the town
Keep Ashton Green campaigners protest in the town
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Supporters say the development would give Wigan a welcome economic boost, creating 1,200 jobs.

But in April objectors told Wigan’s planning committee the project would increase HGV movements through Ashton, escalate air pollution for thousands of residents and destroy a large amount of local green space, contributing negatively to climate change.

Nearly 500 people in Ashton objected, including councillors and MP Yvonne Fovargue.

On the other hand Dan Symonds for Glenbrook flagged up the positives.

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He told councillors: “It is an allocated employment site, it is compliant with council planning policy and it will bring huge economic benefit to the Wigan borough. I must stress that no buildings are going to be built on green belt land.

“Why is Glenbrook keen to develop this? We have had inquiries from businesses in Wigan who are looking to expand and there have been no options to do that. This will bring an initial £17m investment into the borough as well as 1,200 jobs and training opportunities as well as an initial £1.2m in business rates revenue as well.”

While two committee members were in favour of the scheme, the majority were against and the application was thrown out, based on road safety concerns.

There was much cheering from opponents, including the Keep Ashton Green group.

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But now Glenbrook hopes to the take the matter to a public inquiry and overturn the council decision.

Local councillor Danny Fletcher, who opposes the plans, said: “We are extremely disappointed Glenbrook has decided to go round the council’s decision and ignore record number of Ashton objections.

"Great from a company that prides on being ‘community-friendly.’

"One thing is for sure: Keep Ashton Green is going nowhere. We will fight the plan tooth and nail.”

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A planning inspector will now decide whether there are grounds for an appeal after meeting stakeholders. Dates for consultations have yet to be fixed.