Wigan Council faces delay in verdict being reached on cash bid for link road project

Town hall bosses are facing a longer wait than expected to hear whether they will receive cash for a major infrastructure project.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 10:28 am
A drone picture of the project taken by reader Brian King

A bid for around £132m to help bring forward schemes to complete a borough-wide link between the M6 and M61 is still with central government.

Other news: Wigan horse show halted for air ambulance landing after young girl kicked by a ponySubmitted earlier this year, the council had hoped to have been given an indication on the application’s fate this month.

But Becca Heron, director of economy and skills, told councillors this week that the agonising wait could extend through to September.

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The road link will “unlock” strategic sites for around 9,000 homes across the borough and will cost £220m in total.

The council has previously said failure to secure the contribution from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) will mean separate road projects will have to be delivered in piecemeal fashion, over a much longer period of time.

The HIF is a government capital grant programme of up to £5.5bn, which will help to deliver up to 100,000 new homes in England.

Speaking at this week’s meeting of the council’s confident places scrutiny committee, Ms Heron said: “The bid was submitted at the end of March, we are still awaiting a decision on that, we were told it would be June.

“But we suspect that it more likely could be September. But if we are successful that will be a significant development for the council in unlocking a significant number of brownfield land sites.”

The council is working alongside counterparts in Bolton on the bid and has been in consultation with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Homes England.

A spokesperson for the ministry of housing, communities and local government said a decision on Wigan’s bid is expected “in the coming months”.

Part of the link road is already taking shape, namely the section between Westwood Park and Goose Green. Two of the three bridges carrying the route have now been lowered into place by a giant crane over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Poolstock Lane and a third will straddle Smithy Brook later this year. The project is due to be completed next spring.

Further sections would take the route up to the M58/M6 junction at Orrell and to the M61 at Westhoughton.