This is the vision of a Wigan community's future residents will vote on in a referendum

Residents in a Wigan community will be heading to the polls to have their say on far-reaching plans to transform a local area.

Friday, 14th June 2019, 1:42 pm
Updated Friday, 14th June 2019, 2:42 pm
Pubs would get extra protection under the plan

The Standish Neighbourhood Plan, which has been prepared by residents’ group Standish Voice, will be subject to a vote in the township next month.

Other news: Prolific Wigan artist to have work featured at huge exhibitionThe document is the first of its kind to reach the stage of a referendum in Greater Manchester and contains some 30 policies covering everything from housing and open space to parking and the village centre.

If residents approve the neighbourhood plan it will have legal status, will have to be considered in planning decisions involving Standish and will be in effect until 2030.

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The plan seeks to put limits on new housebuilding

Here are some of the things which residents will be asked to vote on:

The village centre. There should be a new civic space, an improved conservation area around St Wilfrid’s Church and pedestrian priority streets, in line with recommendations from a Manchester-based urban planning consultancy commissioned by Standish Voice.

Takeaways. Currently nine per cent of businesses in the centre of Standish are takeaways and this level will be maintained to reduce health problems and preserve the middle of the township’s character. Takeaways will not be allowed within 400m of Standish High School and any new ones must provide their own litter bins.

Pubs. Any pub or hotel up for demolition or redevelopment must be marketed for at least 12 months to give the community time to save it.

Gidlow Tip could become the home of a solar farm

Jobs. The plan seeks to prevent the remaining half of the Bradley Lane Industrial Estate being demolished as long as there is a need for employment there.

Standish Loop. The route for cyclists, walkers and horse riders encircling the village, which is mostly off-road, will be preserved.

Car parking. Large new developments will have to have parking and new public parking should be encouraged. Standish Voice says this was one of the main complaints put forward by residents when the plan was being drawn up.

Green Corridors. Two green corridors will be created to act as natural buffers between housing estates so people, plants and animals can all thrive. Sites from Robin Hill to Pepper Lane and from Victoria Pit to the former golf course have been earmarked.

Green spaces. The ponds at Almond Brook, Southlands Rec, a field opposite the high school and an area near Victoria Pit would be designated Local Green Spaces, where development would be banned. There is also a policy to create a community park on The Rec with improved leisure and sport facilities and at Ashfield Park.

Housing. No more houses can be approved on Standish’s safeguarded land until 1,148 of the 1,821 which had planning permission for sites with the same status as of last April are occupied. Developers will have to prove new building is not detrimental to life in Standish, with exceptions for projects involving 100 per cent affordable housing and places for elderly people to live. New homes must not be more than 400m from a bus stop.

Renewable energy. The plan backs creating solar farms on brownfield sites and previously-developed land. The reclamation site of Gidlow Tip has been suggested as a location.

Standish Voice is now hoping residents will give their approval to its vision of the area’s future at the ballot box.

A Standish Voice spokesperson said: “It has taken around four years to put this plan together due to the complexity of the issues we face in Standish and the need for extensive consultation throughout this process.

“But we are nearing the end of the road and the final plan represents a real victory in giving Standish people influence in how further housing developments are agreed and a say in the creation of new infrastructure, which we need in the village due to our increasing population.

“There are positive policies across a range of areas including preserving jobs, enhancing our historic village centre, preserving open space and promoting only the homes we need, which is for older people and for those struggling to get on the housing ladder.

“We will be hoping for a decisive ‘Yes’ vote to show developers and Wigan Council how strongly people feel about putting these policies into effect in full.”

The planning examiner who scrutinised the plan to make sure it was suitable to go forward to a referendum was also impressed by the work of Standish Voice.

A statement said: “They are to be congratulated on the work they have undertaken in consulting the community of this large area and drawing up a plan to address the issues that have been identified particularly to ensure that the village centre and community facilities are enhanced and improved to meet the needs of this growing population.

“The plan also seeks to ensure that the housing needs of the population are addressed, especially for the ageing population and that provision is made for affordable homes.”

The vote is on July 18 and is an in-out referendum like the Brexit vote. Polling stations will be opened as they would be for a council election and there will also be options for postal voting.

Residents in the Standish Neighbourhood Area, which is different to the Standish with Langtree council ward, will be able to take part.

The question on the polling form will be: ‘Do you want Wigan Council to use the Standish Neighbourhood Plan to help it decide planning applications in the Standish Neighbourhood Area?’

The full neighbourhood plan is available to view at