Formby Hall called in by minister

Formby Hall
Formby Hall

A GOVERNMENT minister has agreed to look at controversial plans to bulldoze a popular community hub following an intervention by a local MP.

Greg Clark, secretary of state for communities and local government, has called in the planning application to demolish Formby Hall in Atherton.

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.

Wigan Council’s planning committee has given developers approval to flatten the site, but had no powers to consider whether or not the hall should be demolished.

A petition to save the community hub attracted almost 5,000 signatures and the Atherton Residents’ Association is also battling to secure its future.

Mr Green said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the secretary of state has recognised just how important Formby Hall is and has agreed to use his powers to call-in this application after my letter to him before Christmas.

“Everyone knows that Formby Hall was gifted to the people of Atherton and it is simply wrong that Wigan Council ever granted permission to knock it down.

“This is down to the hard work of Atherton Residents’ Association, councillors like Jamie Hodgkinson and all the local people who have fought against these plans to knock down our community hub. I’d also like to thank the minister for taking the time to look into this important issue.

“This is not the end and it does not guarantee that Formby Hall will be saved but I am looking forward to seeing the results of this new independent inquiry.”