Verdict on the way ahead

Location shot of Phoenix Way, Lower Ince
Location shot of Phoenix Way, Lower Ince

THE final stretch of asphalt needed to complete a link road Wigan Council says is crucial to regeneration will be considered by planners.

The town hall is applying to build a 735m stretch of road near the southern edge of Wigan Enterprise Park in Ince and the case will be heard at Wigan Council’s planning committee meeting next week.

The road, which runs from the end of the Phoenix Way extension which gained planning approval in December 2014 to the end of Seaman Way, will complete the link road between Lower and Higher Ince.

Wigan Council says the route forms an important part of its transport strategy as long delays and poor-quality roads through the borough’s east-west core is hampering development and the creation of new jobs. However, developer St Modwen, whose plans to turn the majority of Wigan Enterprise Park into more than 300 new homes will be considered at a planning inquiry later this year, has objected to the council’s proposal.

St Modwen, which owns the enterprise park, says detailed designs for the new highway, models of traffic flow along the road and information about measures which the council would take to prevent environmental damage have not been provided.

A report prepared for Wigan Council’s planning committee admits the proposed route will pass across Green Belt land but says the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) allows this in the case of local transport infrastructure development where the openness of the land is preserved.

The road, which will have a 30mph speed limit, will also have a wide footpath and crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists. The report says landscaping will be used to lessen the visual impact of the route on the land around it.

The road will also run along the edge of Amberswood Common, which is a site of biological importance (SBI), but the report says the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit GMEU) is satisfied with proposals providing further evidence of how the population of endangered great-crested newts in the area will be protected is provided.

The link road which planners will consider is also part of the council’s Amberswood Link Road plans to connect Lower Ince with Hindley, with another proposed new road meeting the Phoenix Way and Seaman Way route at a roundabout.

The report states: “The proposed link is an integral part of the Amberswood link road which is an important component of the adopted transport strategy for the borough.

“When completed the Amberswood link will ultimately form part of the cross-borough road network which will offer substantial benefits to residents and businesses by providing economic benefits and making the area a more attractive place to work and live.”

The report recommends councillors approve the link road subject to conditions being met. The planning committee meets at the Pier Centre on February 17 at 2pm.