‘Development plan has not gone away’

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Campaigners are urging Wigan residents to keep a controversial development plan at the forefront of their minds in the coming months.

Local authority bosses across Greater Manchester are currently working on the second draft of the GM Spatial Framework.

Anti-GMSF campaigners gather at Lathom House Farm with Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

Anti-GMSF campaigners gather at Lathom House Farm with Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

Protesters, who staged a demonstration outside the town hall last week, also met with Wigan MP Lisa Nandy this weekend.

Gillian Morris, who is particularly concerned about the Bell site in Kitt Green being earmarked for development, said: “People think because things have gone quiet that the plans have been quashed.

“We want to keep the message out there that it hasn’t, it’s still a battle. We are hearing all kinds of rumours about which sites might be scrapped but we won’t know for sure until later in the year.”

The major planning blueprint will bring thousands of jobs and houses to the borough but has been hit by criticism from senior political figures.

Fears have been voiced about development on green belt land across the borough in addition to concerns about congestion and infrastructure effects.

Ms Nandy, along with borough colleagues Yvonne Fovargue and Andy Burnham have also expressed concerns about how the initial consultation was conducted.

Council bosses who helped design the first draft say only a small percentage of green belt will be used and to mitigate this loss an area in Standish will be re-designated.

However, campaigners have argued brown field sites have not been fully considered and have called for the plan to be drastically altered, if not scrapped.

Anti-GMSF group organiser Mark Bradley said: “I am a project manager, I know that the starting point for every project is the business case. Where is the business case for 22,500 new homes in Wigan?”