Residents' fury at closure of popular Wigan footpath

Developer Persimmon Homes have closed the path off Rectory Lane, Standish

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 2:35 pm

Residents have reacted with anger after it was revealed that a footpath popular with walkers has been closed.

In building the latest phase of the development on the old golf course off Rectory Lane, Standish, the developers Persimmon Homes have shut off one of the existing footpaths.

The path goes around the edge of the site, which is a registered public right of way.

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Residents, from left, Adam Marsh, Jo Gregory, Stuart McGivern, Martin Kinsella and Andrea Kinsella angered by the path closure

This public footpath connects Rectory Lane with Cranleigh and the footpath which leads down to the crossing of the West Coast Mainline.

Adam Marsh, chairman of Wigan Conservatives Federation and a Standish resident, said the developer has seemingly made an alternative route available, which he said is “sub-standard”.

Mr Marsh said numerous residents who use the route on a regular basis have been left “extremely angry”.

He said: “The brilliant walks are one of the best bits about living in Standish and they have been made even more important due to the pandemic. I share residents’ frustration and anger about Persimmon closing off this vital public footpath and providing an alternative that’s pretty much unusable after a light sprinkling of rain.

“I’ve asked the council to investigate this and make sure our public footpaths remain open and useable.”

Separately, Mr Marsh said he is also unhappy Persimmon have not created a park area or path to St Wilfrid’s Primary School, as their planning permission terms stated they had to do.

He said plans for the development show a large landscaped park type area, along with allotments, next to the leisure centre which opened several years ago.

As this estate is already largely occupied, Mr Marsh said residents need an open space nearby, which is what was promised as part of the scheme.

The path, which was also due to be created by the developer to allow a connection to St Wilfrid’s Primary School, would also allow parents to park on the leisure centre car park and drop their children off at school without having to walk up Rectory Lane.

Mr Marsh said this would help alleviate congestion on St Wilfrid’s Road at drop off and pick up times, but that no work on these elements of the scheme have begun.

He added: “This site is now over half way towards being completely built out, with many people already living here, so it is unacceptable that the developer has not yet started any work on completing the landscaped park area, the path to St Wilfrid’s Primary School or the allotments.

“I’ve been contacted by residents on Iron Drive and St Wilfrids Road who are rightly angry about the lack of progress. The council have said they are looking at what enforcement action can be taken.”

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes North West said: “Work to create the park area, including the footpaths and play equipment, is due to start on Monday. The contractor has already written to the council to inform it of the timings.

“The public rights of way paths within and around the development have been temporarily diverted to ensure the safety of the general public during building work. We hope to reopen them shortly.

“Some areas of the diverted footpaths were resurfaced and are open for use. We are in the final stages of creating the new perimeter footpath, which will be open permanently to members of the public when finished. Persimmon Homes is fully committed to ensuring all aspects of our The Fairways development is completed in-line with our planning permission.”

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