Community hub public inquiry underway

Formby Hall, Alder Street, Atherton
Formby Hall, Alder Street, Atherton
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A planning inquiry to decide the future of Formby Hall in Atherton has started at Wigan Town Hall on Wednesday morning.

The council’s planning committee had earlier this year given the green light for the popular community hub to be bulldozed.

But the building was given a reprieve when the decision was called in by Greg Clark, the former minister for communities and local government.

Bolton West MP Chris Green asked for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to look again at the plans, which have sparked outrage among local residents. A petition to save the community hub attracted almost 5,000 signatures and the Atherton Residents’ Association is also battling to secure its future.

Today an independent planning inspector will hear representations about the hall before making a decision.

The Alder Street venue is under threat as it has been bought by the Formby Hall Investments (FHI) group, which wants to build a nursing home and flats for independent supported living on the site.

Follow our man Andrew Nowell tweeting from the meeting. He can found at @ANowellWIG