Wigan housing plan worries remain

Councillors are urging town hall bosses to delay a planning application for a massive development amid an ongoing row about asbestos.
Survey work being done by Arcadis on land near Thomas Street in Hindley GreenSurvey work being done by Arcadis on land near Thomas Street in Hindley Green
Survey work being done by Arcadis on land near Thomas Street in Hindley Green

Elected representatives from Hindley and Hindley Green wards are still unhappy about the search for potentially-dangerous materials on the South of Hindley site.

Politicians met council officers and bosses from developer Peel Holdings along with a representative of surveying company Arcadis last week.

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Despite councillors being reassured by references to extensive mitigation work being done in the analysis reports they say they believe more needs to be done to allay residents’ fears about building work and anecdotal accounts of asbestos being buried on the land need more probing.

Peel said it understood the elected representatives’ worries and has taken the feedback on board but believes the project can now move along to the next stage of the process.

A statement from the two wards’ Labour councillors said: “It would appear that the ground investigations that have already taken place are considered by Peel Holdings to be sufficient to move to the outline planning stage, but they are certainly not enough to reassure residents that the site can be developed safely.

“There will undoubtedly be further investigations attached as a condition of the planning application but, until the anecdotal evidence of buried asbestos within the development site has been thoroughly investigated, we will be urging the council to delay the submission of a planning application.”

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Hindley Green independent representative Coun Bob Brierley says he is also still concerned.

He said: “I’m asking specifically for them to drill around the area known locally as the Monkey Bridge.

“They seem to think they have spent enough money but you can’t spend enough when you are dealing with people’s lives.”

In a statement Peel Land and Property said it was absolutely committed to safety as the development goes forwards.

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The statement said: “Peel and the council recognise and understand residents’ and councillors’ concerns and fully agree that it is essential to ensure that the site can be safely developed.

“This is normally achieved by the use of appropriate planning conditions, should the council be minded to approve the proposed development of South Hindley following full consideration of the planning application.

“Peel and the council are currently in discussions to determine whether any further investigations are required, prior to the submission of the outline planning application, which has been prepared jointly by Peel and Wigan Council.

“The outline planning application will be the next stage in bringing forward the delivery of the South Hindley development, which is at the heart of the adopted Wigan Local Plan Core Strategy.

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“The Core Strategy was adopted by Wigan Council in September 2013 and it sets out the spatial vision for the borough through to 2026.

“The South Hindley site is expected to deliver much needed housing together with employment development and substantial areas of green infrastructure.”