Worry as Wigan playing field fenced off

An opposition councillor is raising concerns about the future of a popular play area after it was suddenly fenced off.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 11:43 am
Coun Paul Maiden

Hindley Green Independent Coun Paul Maiden spoke out after the green space and equipment for children on Bexhill Drive was turned into a no-go area without warning.

Coun Maiden is concerned by the development as it is owned by Bellway Homes yet he says the house-building firm has done little to no maintenance work on it in recent years.

Instead the job of mowing the grass and keeping the place spick and span has fallen to Coun Maiden and his independent colleague in the ward Coun Bob Brierley.

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The Bexhill playing field which has suddenly been fenced off

Coun Maiden fears restricting access to the play area may be the first step towards the area being submitted as a site for further development and has anxiously asked Wigan Council what protections are in place to safeguard its future.

The town hall has said it would not welcome a bid for more houses to be put on the site, while the construction firm has thrown a veil of silence over the reason why the fence has been erected.

Coun Maiden said: “When I got elected the area was a mess so I tidied it up. Bellway should be looking after it themselves, people are making a lot of money out of building these houses.

“What concerns me is them sticking a great big fence round it. If they can prevent it being used they could then put in for change of use and apply to build a few houses on it, which I definitely don’t want happening.

“When we go on there to maintain it the young children are hanging around waiting for us to finish mowing the grass so they can go on there.

“This is quite a built-up area with no green spaces for the kids and residents.

“I don’t see how the fence could be for health and safety because it’s been like that since I got elected.

“Who is responsible for the upkeep of it is a contentious point in the area. It’s a disgrace how it has been allowed to get into a state of disrepair and it brings the area down.”

The fence was put up towards the end of last week, during the half-term holiday for Wigan schools.

Marie Bintley, assistant director for growth and housing at Wigan Council, said: “The play area is owned by Bellway Homes and was required to be provided as part of the original planning permission, it was not covered through a section 106 agreement.

“The council would not expect this site to be developed as this would be contrary to local planning policy for that site.”

Bellway Homes was approached but declined to comment.