Wigan borough community in uproar as latest development threatens to take area’s ‘last bit of green space’

Plans for a 31-home development on a farm in Atherton have sparked anger.
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The proposal, put forward by Peter Williams, William Williams and Ruth Walton would see a mix of 31 new houses with two, three and four bedrooms built on land currently occupied by Shams Farm off Shakerley Lane.

The site sits between the main hubs of Atherton and Tyldesley off the A579 (Bolton Road) – which objectors say is at capacity.

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The latest plans have stirred up anger, with fears a new road could become a rat run. There is currently no through road south of the site towards Tyldesley so this proposed site would only be accessible via Bolton Road.

Residents are angered by new plans for 31 homes on the land of Shams Farm off Shakerley Lane, AthertonResidents are angered by new plans for 31 homes on the land of Shams Farm off Shakerley Lane, Atherton
Residents are angered by new plans for 31 homes on the land of Shams Farm off Shakerley Lane, Atherton
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“The bridleway is not intended, designed or capable of safe development to accommodate this level of traffic and will have a great detrimental effect upon the character of the area for residents of Shakerley Lane,” objector Wayne Marsh said. “There are bottlenecks with restricted widths for traffic at the junction of Shakerley Lane and Bolton Road.

“These roads are already heavily congested at peak times causing significant delays to commuters.”

Although no official proposals have been submitted to the council so far, there are concerns plans for a further 600 houses in the area could follow this application.

Shams Farm off Shakerley LaneShams Farm off Shakerley Lane
Shams Farm off Shakerley Lane
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Val Yates said in her objection letter: “Building 31 more houses, then a further 600, where will all the rain water go. When you erect houses on so much marshland, the drainage system is already over capacity and cannot cope with the amount of water that is consumed, many of the drains are blocked and are poorly maintained.

“The current schools, GPs, dentists and Greater Manchester Police are already overwhelmed and cannot cope as they are overstretched and at full capacity. There are thousands on waiting lists to get any service.

“This is with the current number of residents to meet demand, how would it be expected to meet the demands of hundreds more people.”

The application has been met with more than 100 objections and GMP and Network Rail have reservations. A consultation period has been extended for an extra 21 days after Coun James Paul Watson contacted Wigan town hall bosses due to a perceived lack of communications about the plans.

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Coun Watson has met with residents and shares their concerns, labelling this the last bit of green space in the area – which he does not want to see built on.

The Atherton ward representative said: “This small patch of green space is the last green area that we have in Atherton that is yet to be built on, and I worry about where and what the next generation will have to enjoy recreational walks. We have seen 840 houses approved to the South of Atherton, 550 to the West of Atherton opposite Gadbury Fold (PfE).

“Although this application is only 31 dwellings, I fear that this is the calm before the storm as there are plans to build up to 600 houses on our last patch of Green Space as early as 2025. How can the council declare a climate emergency then consecutively replace our green spaces with concrete?

“Furthermore, we are yet to see the impact of the already agreed 1400 dwelling on our overstretched infrastructure. Our roads are gridlocked, public transport has been reduced, flooding has increased, residents cannot see their doctors and GP’s, secondary school places are not available locally!

“We urgently need to put the brakes on and take a minute to strategically assess the detrimental impact of this mass and unwanted urbanisation of Atherton.”

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