Housing plans opposed

Map of Pocket Nook Lane, Lowton, showing land proposed for potential future house building in the Core Strategy
Map of Pocket Nook Lane, Lowton, showing land proposed for potential future house building in the Core Strategy

RESIDENTS are preparing for a protracted battle with developers over council plans which could see hundreds of new homes built in Lowton.

The plans, outlined in Wigan Council’s Core Strategy, show four sites allocated for potential development at Pocket Nook Lane, Stone Cross Lane and near Rothwell Farm in Golborne which could result in as many as 1,000 new homes being constructed.

The land in question has been re-designated from White Land to Safeguarded Land, which acts as a buffer between the green and brown belts and prevents immediate building work, though it can be released for construction in the future as part of long-term infrastructure plans.

Two areas of land at Pocket Nook Lane, around half the full site, are already owned by property developers Gordon Moon and Persimmons Homes.

Residents at the Lowton East Neighbourhood Development Forum (LENDF) have objected to the plans, saying building work would irreparably damage Lowton’s character and cause traffic chaos.

LENDF Chairman Ed Thwaite said: “Putting so many more houses into Lowton would fundamentally change the village forever, and it wouldn’t be a village anymore.

“Who would buy all these houses, especially when there are already so many houses for sale in Lowton? Putting extra traffic on the roads would create a major health and safety issue for the children, and that is unacceptable”.

LENDF has also received complaints from farmers about the council’s assessment of the land quality.

Mr Thwaite said: “In our opinion, to take away crop growing land to put buildings on is just nonsense.”

The Core Strategy is currently being analysed by a government inspector, who has already questioned members of the council’s planning committee and will hear the Forum’s objections before making his final report.

The Lowton sites form part of the council’s 10-year plan to address the borough’s long-term infrastructure needs, though no sites have actually been allocated for housing in Lowton.

Wigan Council head of planning Mike Worden said: “The land off Pocket Nook Road is currently safeguarded for possible future development and has never been in the green belt. It is one of four areas of safeguarded land in proximity to the East Lancashire Road that has been identified in the emerging Core Strategy as a potential future housing allocation.

“The development of the Core Strategy has included public consultation and a formal examination in public, led by a government appointed planning inspector, will be held this month.”