Approval given to North Leigh Park plans

Artist's impression image of homes for North Leigh Park
Artist's impression image of homes for North Leigh Park

One of the first phases of housing for North Leigh Park can officially go ahead.

But councillors and residents fear the effect on the roads network is being overlooked.

This is a key site and a key contributor to the delivery of the five-year housing land supply for Wigan

Marie Bintley, assistant planning director

Special report: Concerns about impact of thousands of new homes in Leigh

Residents turned out in force at Wigan Town Hall to protest about proposals by Bellway Homes for 99 homes for former mining land to the south of Corner Lane.

Reached by a new access road to the east off Tiverton Close, potential residents would leave the estate via Harbern Drive and onto Westleigh Lane.

Former Leigh MP Andy Burnham and his successor Jo Platt had both expressed concerns regarding the development, along with Atherleigh ward councillors Mark Aldred, John Harding and Pamela Stewart.

Fifty-three letters were also sent to the council, opposing the application, alongside a 199-signature petition.

John Hyde, speaking on behalf of residents, said: “All of the residents have used this difficult junction for a number of years and to add 160 cars will only exacerbate these problems. Our objection remains with the access and not the houses.”

He also questioned the “veracity” of council-produced accident statistics, showing there had been no collisions along Westleigh Lane, as he had been knocked off his bike recently and he knew of a motorcyclist who had also been hurt nearby.

Mike Stone, regional planning manager for Bellway Homes, said: “The proposed access is safe and has been assessed in detail by the highways department.”

He told councillors that 18,000 vehicles an hour used the A577 Corner Lane, to the north of the site.

An access route would be created, to deliver materials and plant during construction, but a permanent road would not be sanctioned.

Coun Sam Murphy said that the creation of the new east-west link road for North Leigh Park could still have a dramatic effect on traffic flows in the area,

“We have to consider the issues of what we are doing as a borough,” he said.

But planning committee chairman Coun Paul Prescott said councillors could only consider the plans placed before them.

Principal planning officer Dave Rawsthorne said that while Corner Lane coped with 18,000 vehicles an hour during the rush hour, an estimated 9,000 only used Westleigh Lane.

Marie Bintley, assistant planning director, added: “This is a key site and a key contributor to the delivery of the five-year housing land supply for Wigan.”

She told councillors it was “critical” the development was considered in this context, otherwise it could become a factor in future housing appeals across the borough.

Planning permission was granted subject to a number of conditions being satisfied by Bellway.