Road protestors’ legal action

Angry Residents on Meadowbank in Pemberton
Angry Residents on Meadowbank in Pemberton

ANGRY Wigan residents are seeking legal action against proposals to build a link road right outside their homes.

People living on Wainhomes’s new Meadow Brook estate in Pemberton are vehemently opposed to Wigan Council’s plans to create the M58 Link Road, connecting the eastern roundabout of Junction 26 of the M6 and the A571 Billinge Road/Foundry Lane junction.

Forming a Facebook group Say No to the M58 Link Road, residents are campaigning against the project and are consulting solicitors as they believe Wainhomes knew about the road plan at the time of selling the homes - something which the housing firm denies.

They are also arguing the council had plans to create the link road as early as 2008 under its Strategic Masterplan - viewable on the authority website - which should have shown up on searches when buying the house. But the authority did not disclose this when Wainhomes solicitors did searches for prospective buyers.

Carmen Whittle, who is leading the campaign, said: “Local authority searches were done shortly before I moved in July 2012. The council said there were no road schemes planned. Yet I have seen documents on the internet which relate to this road in 2008 and 2011. The council should have notified us of this.

“When I questioned this the council said we did not need to be notified as it did not have funding. Wainhomes must have known about the plans as it has been in discussions with the authority over a grass verge which belongs to the council and has been earmarked for the road. Now surely if you are planning a road like that should it not come up on your local authority searches?

“The same houses at the bottom of the link road in Goose Green have also sold for around £10,000 to £15,000 less and the area is much the same. We do feel we have been very misled and the word misrepresentation comes to mind.”

A council spokesman said that as soon as the opportunity for funding the scheme became certain it was included the highway scheme within the Local Authority searches. Before then, with no funding guaranteed, it was not referenced,

Wainhomes MD Steve Toghill said: “The proposed link road was not on the local search we undertook when we originally purchased the land.

“The grass verge is owned by the council and does not form part of the company’s site. There has also been reference to the high fence erected adjacent to the verge being evidence that the company had planned for the road as part of its scheme. I can unequivocally confirm that this is not the case. The fence was a planning requirement due to the proximity of Lamberhead Industrial Estate opposite the development, to deal with the potential for noise that could otherwise have occurred.”

The single carriageway will connect Smithy Brook Road with a new road across the former Pemberton Colliery site to Billinge Road, then across the railway to a widened Leopold Street. The road will then cross Brook Lane and join the M58/M6 roundabout.

Campaigners say the road would cut them off from Pemberton and one-way routing would force them onto the link road in the opposite direction before doubling back on themselves.

They also voice fears about increased pollution and a threat to wildlife, including protected bluebells.

Council assistant director for planning and transport, Mike Worden, said: “The detailed design has not yet been finalised and there will be an opportunity for the public to view the draft proposals and talk through their concerns with council officers early in the New Year at a special exhibition which will be held locally. Further details of the public consultation will be released shortly.

“The scheme will require planning permission and it is expected that an application will be made in May 2015.”