A controversial retirement village has been approved by Wigan council.
But the council’s planning committee’s decision was not clear-cut regarding the village in the middle of Standish.
Despite the application receiving approval, concerns were raised over the plans to knock down one of the oldest buildings in the town’s high street.
Aimed at meeting growing demand for elderly accommodation, the principle of this development was warmly met by members of the planning committee.
The complex will offer retirement apartments, extra care facilities and around-the-clock support for vulnerable residents local to Standish who may be looking to downsize.
It will also bring new use to a site which was vacated by Chadwick Family’s Fine Food Emporium in July, with the business closing its doors after serving the town since 1761.
Coun Jeanette Prescott was ‘over the moon’ with the development, adding that she wished it was being built in her ward of Pemberton.
“The people in Standish have always been upset about new buildings, but this is a way for elderly people living in the area that don’t want to move to stay in the area,” she said.
“It gives them the chance to free up their properties for the young. A lot of people are going to benefit from this.”
But the major sticking point of the scheme was the demolition of Wellington Place, which has stood for more than 200 years within what is now Standish’s conservation area.
Coun Stuart Gerrard, while welcoming the wider scheme, said: “I’m just concerned that by knocking down a building in the conservation area that we could be setting a precedent.”
Planning officers told members that attempts had been made to incorporate the building into the plans, but they were found to be ‘unviable’.
A lack of listed status, and the presence of ‘more complete’ examples of rare buildings elsewhere in the area, also worked against it.
But the building’s 1817 date stone will be preserved and fixed onto the wall of one of the apartment buildings.
At the same meeting, councillors also unanimously backed the first phase of the North Leigh Park development, which will be known as Lindley Village, on Tuesday.
The borough’s newest neighbourhood will boast up to 1,800 homes, a new district centre and swathes of green open spaces once completed in the next decade.
Outline permission for the sprawling North Leigh Park development was given in 2013, with developers Countryside seeking consent to start building the first 199 homes.
The homes will be a mixture of two, three and four-bedroom homes, with 81 offered with affordable rent and 39 as shared ownership homes.
Work is expected to start early next year, with many of the wider scheme’s features including play areas, footpaths, cycle ways and bridle paths are also included within the reserved matters application
Countryside and Wigan council are also hoping to secure funding to provide part of the link road between the M6 and M61 – between Leigh Road and Atherleigh Way.
Ian Kelly, chief executive of Countryside Partnerships North, said: “North Leigh Park is the largest strategic housing site in the North West.
“Since we purchased the land in 2018 we have been working very closely with Wigan council and our development partners to realise its full potential and to create our partnership strategy to deliver high quality and affordable new housing for the borough.”
Councillor David Molyneux, leader of Wigan council, said ‘a lot of pressure’ would be put onto the borough’s greenbelt without the development.
Speaking after the committee’s decision, he added: “Not only will it help us to meet housing demand over the next five years, but it will also provide local people with quality, affordable housing, which is another top priority for us.”