Work begins at contested site in Leigh

Work on the site
Work on the site

Work is well under way at a Leigh site next to a nature reserve which has been the subject of lengthy battles over planning permission.

The shell of a building is now visible at Green Fold Way, close to the Hope Carr site, after Wigan Council’s planning officers approved a scheme for the location.

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An ambitious hybrid application was given the green light consisting of a large industrial unit, an outdoor storage area for vehicles and the outline of another commercial development, although at this stage only the access has been considered.

The decision brings to an end several years of attempts to build on the site, with previous schemes including a waste recycling centre which sparked huge protests from furious local residents.

Despite planners giving the go-ahead some aspects of the development at Green Fold Way remain unpopular with those living nearby.

Local resident Bernard Wells, who was one of the objectors, said: “I am not against development on Green Fold Way. Jobs are needed in Leigh and the surrounding area.

“At best on this occasion workers will relocate from an existing location within the area.

"The application also says it will encourage people to walk to work or catch the bus, but there is not enough service provision. At the moment there are maybe 50 or 60 cars parked along Green Fold Way because there are not enough spaces and not enough alternatives for people."

The town hall has strongly defended its handling of the application.

Marie Bintley, assistant director for growth and housing at Wigan Council, said: “Although the application does involve the loss of some designated habitat areas, it also includes proposals for significant improvements to other areas of habitat within the site. These improvements will more than compensate for the areas lost and as a result, the application was approved.

"The planning permission also carries conditions to ensure that these improvements are carried out and the required travel plans are put in place to encourage workers to use sustainable methods of travel such as walking, cycling or public transport.

“The development of the area will be closely monitored.

“All work completed to date is within the terms of the planning permission.”