Masterplan criticised by leader of opposition

The latest version of a joint development masterplan for Greater Manchester has been passed by Wigan Council despite opposition from some councillors.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 12:25 pm
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 12:26 pm
Wigan Town Hall

An eight-week public consultation on the Places for Everyone plan is due to kick off on August 9 and after that, it will be presented to the government.

There have been no changes to Wigan’s part of the plan since the most recent version of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework was published last year. But Stockport is not part of the new joint plan having pulled out in December.

The remaining nine boroughs in Greater Manchester will now have to build just under 165,000 homes by 2037, which means 972 new homes a year in Wigan.

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This includes around 600 homes at Pocket Nook in Lowton, 1,100 north of Mosley Common and around 500 on land west of Gibfield near Atherton.

There is also 15,000 sq m of employment floorspace planned at Pocket Nook and 45,000 sqm at the west of Gibfield site as well as around 140,000 sq m at Junction 25 of the M6, which has already been granted planning permission.

Labour councillor Paul Prescott, who is the portfolio holder for planning, environmental services and transport at Wigan council, said these proposals would only result in a 0.7 pc reduction in the borough’s protected green belt. This means 56 per cent of Wigan would remain in the green belt if the plan passes.

But Tory group leader Michael Winstanley criticised the plans at a full council meeting on Wednesday where councillors were asked to endorse it.

He said: “I think this whole plan has been badly handled from the start. GMSF, Great Places for Everyone – call it what you want. It’s a flawed plan.”

He claimed Wigan was not given the opportunity to have a debate about the masterplan and its previous incarnations until now and criticised previous consultations, saying they mean ‘nothing’, and called for the council to ‘move on’ from only consulting the public online.

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