Protesters' fury as Wigan homes plan gets the green light despite hundreds of objections

Residents reacted with anger after their 1,500 objections to yet more housing in a Wigan village were swept aside by planners.
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Protesting Lowton villagers had feared the worst, despite submitting a 20,000-word document of evidence against scores of extra homes on top of 1,300 approved in recent years, and gaining the support of hundreds of locals.

And so it proved as a majority on Wigan Council’s planning committee gave the 69 Bloor homes the green light.

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One local said afterwards: “Just when is this going to end? Housing has increased by stealth year after year until we’ve developed a huge sprawl in the middle of our village which has inadequate roads feeding it and few if any ameni ties. Local opinion has just been tossed aside.”

Residents protest as a planners' site visit takes place in the backgroundResidents protest as a planners' site visit takes place in the background
Residents protest as a planners' site visit takes place in the background

The committee backed a Bloor Homes application for a mix of two to four-bedroom dwellings and two duplex apartments at Thompsons Farm in Heath Lane.

Leigh East councillor Fred Walker urged members to approve the plans, saying: “I think it looks like an attractive development. Somewhere that it would be nice to live. I’d love to keep the little towns that we used to have in their pristine condition, but the world’s not like that.”

A representative for Bloor also said the development would have “little or no impact” on traffic.

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And so a majority said "aye", despite opposition councillors’ protests on the grounds of traffic congestion, pollution, over-development of the area and a lack of supporting amenities. Coun Kath Houlton said that the area was now a “town within a village” with no facilities and nothing for children.

Other houses already being built near the approved siteOther houses already being built near the approved site
Other houses already being built near the approved site

Earlier in the day residents had gathered to watch members of the committee visit the site, which adjoins a large Wainhomes estate that has already been springing up, and demonstrate their objections.

After the meeting Lowton and Golborne Traffic Action Group member Christine Lewis said: “We are angry, dismayed, but not surprised. The council has already approved 1,300 homes in the area, so there was a horrible inevitability that another 69 were going to get the green light, despite all the evidence against them.

“They say there’ll hardly any impact but many of the roads are already gridlocked from the previously approved homes round here.

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“It’s not as if the area needs more homes. The Government-imposed quota has already been exceeded and the marketing for the Wainhomes houses tells all: they are luring people from other areas to buy these £300,000 properties to become commuters.”