Residents' anger as homes are approved on site of former church

The former St Catherine of Siena RC Church in Lowton. The site will now be turned into 26 houses
The former St Catherine of Siena RC Church in Lowton. The site will now be turned into 26 houses

Residents have reacted with fury after dozens of new homes on the site of a former church in the borough were given the green light.

The Lowton East Neighbourhood Development Forum (Lendf) hit out at Wigan Council after the planning department gave the go-ahead for 26 new houses on the Newton Road land where St Catherine of Siena RC Church formerly stood.

The group says it was astonished by the decision as the council turned down a much smaller development there decades ago and problems with pollution and traffic have got much worse since then.

It also queried some of the claims in the documents given to the planners.

However, Wigan Council strongly denied that the decision had not taken the relevant factors into account.

Lendf chair Ed Thwaite said: “Of all the planning requests for the area this was the one expected to be rejected.

“We’re very concerned about this. They are going to build these houses in what is probably the most polluted part of Lowton.

“The traffic survey said there was no standing traffic in place, which is untrue. There’s standing traffic there about 50 per cent of the day, I would say.

The residents are going to have trouble getting in and out of their houses.

“We’re really disappointed with the decision.”

Lendf also has a number of questions about access to the memorial garden and graves while construction work is taking place and is looking into the ownership of the land in question.

Wigan Council said a number of conditions had been imposed on the housebuilding company in order for the proposal to be approved.

Marie Bintley, assistant director for growth and housing at the town hall, said: “The proposed development was assessed in line with all relevant local and national planning policies.

“The report produced addresses all material planning considerations including highways and access and air quality and previous relevant decisions on the site.

“The applicant has agreed to make the required contributions or provisions towards air quality, public open space and play and six affordable dwellings on site as part of the development.”