Anger at green light for homes

Karl Battersby, director of economy and environment at Wigan Council
Karl Battersby, director of economy and environment at Wigan Council

A controversial planning application for 119 new homes has been passed by Wigan Council’s planning committee.

Bellway Homes successfully applied to build the new houses on land off Pocket Nook Lane in Lowton.

“It is vital that we support appropriate housing development in the borough to keep up with demand for housing and help support growth in our local economy.

Karl Battersby, director for economy and environment at Wigan Council

Councillors agreed the development of houses, of which a quarter will be affordable, together with a new play area and two ponds for wildlife habitats could go ahead.

However, residents and opposition councillors who objected to the plans have said they intend to appeal.

The planning committee heard the development will have little impact on the surrounding road network as access will be from Pocket Nook Lane and Crompton Way.

The area is earmarked for development in the town hall’s Core Strategy and the committee heard the new homes will help meet the borough’s future housing needs.

Karl Battersby, director for economy and environment at Wigan Council, said: “One of our key priorities is to achieve development and economic growth that will lead to greater economic prosperity in the coming years.

“It is vital that we support appropriate housing development in the borough to keep up with demand for housing and help support growth in our local economy.

“Developments like this one will enable people to find the right homes to establish themselves and their family in the borough.

“Good quality new housing along with improved transport links and employment opportunities provides the right mix to keep our local economy growing.”

A total of 88 residents sent objection letters to the council and Lowton East ward representative Coun James Grundy, who spoke against the plans, said there were concerns about quiet roads becoming rat runs and the effect on rare animal species including great crested newts.

Coun Grundy also pointed out a Government inspector had previously said only 1,000 new houses need to be built in Lowton and Golborne.

He said: “We intend to call this matter in to the secretary of state. The Core Strategy bears no resemblance to what is actually being built.

“The Government inspector quite clearly said he was going to limit houses in Lowton and Golborne to no more than 1,000 and this brings the total closer to 1,100.”