Frustration after a controversial Wigan borough housing development is approved
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The planning committee heard from objectors how congested Warrington Road is currently and that the planned Alderley Lane development would cause further traffic disruption. The connecting road links the town centre to the busy East Lancs Road (A580), Wigan Town Hall heard.
According to Highways, the proposal would generate one additional vehicle approximately every three minutes during the morning and afternoon peak hours. This level of increase is not deemed significant enough for them to make an objection in terms of safety or the free flow of traffic.
The mix of two to four bedroom homes would sit on grassland behind an existing home on Alderley Lane – which would be demolished to make way for the new development. This new development would sit next to a potential 158-home site which has been proposed on the Moss Bank Nurseries site off Hooten Lane, which is yet to be approved.
No affordable homes will be on the Alderley Lane site after the developer, Prime Developments (Alderley) Limited, claimed it was not financially viable. This was the cause of anger for some committee members.
Coun Fred Walker said this “drives a coach and horses” through the affordable homes requirement of 25 per cent.
Both Coun Walker and Coun Stuart Gerrard said they were tired of seeing the same reasons given by developers as to why they could not provide affordable homes due to a lack of "financial viability.”
Despite these objections, the committee decided that the positives of new homes outweighed the negatives and approved the applications by a majority. To offset the lack of affordable homes, planning officers require a Section 106 contribution of £26,000 for improvements to Pennington Hall Park; play space provision of £20,000 at Dootson’s Park; and tree planting at a provision of £12,800 for biodiversity enhancement at Green Lane.
Coun Laura Flynn said: “There are no planning reasons to refuse this. I think the play additions are positive, it is not the affordable housing we want but there are some beneficial things to this development.”
The committee also granted permission in principle (PIP) for nine homes off Ravenswood Drive, Hindley submitted by Wain Homes. PIP establishes whether a site is suitable and would require further planning permission before building could start.
Further details of the plans are limited and more will be revealed if further planning permission is sought by the applicant. Coun Flynn suggested the fact that a big developer like Wain Homes is seeking this route of PIP instead of full planning permission means they are not confident that it is suitable.
Due to the fact there was very little for the committee to look at, they had no legal reason to refuse it. A number of committee members shared their discomfort and their feeling of disrespect in the fact they had to make a decision on something they felt they had “no choice2 but to approve.