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Have your say on new housing proposals
Saturday 28th July, 2012

Wigan Council is shortly to start a consultation exercise to look at where land for new future housing should be identified. The consultation follows the advice of an independent Planning Inspector who has been appointed to examine the Council's development plan to 2026, the Core Strategy.

The Inspector, Kevin Ward, is not satisfied that the Council has identified sufficient land to cover housing needs to 2026 and has requested that consultation takes place on options to identify land for a further 2500 new homes. This is on top of the land that the Council has already identified in its Core Strategy to 2026.

About 15,000 new homes will be required to meet housing need in the borough to 2026 and this is supported by the Inspector having considered evidence of population forecasts and other data. However the Inspector is not convinced that the sites already identified by the Council will be sufficient to achieve that figure by then.

The Council has undertaken an assessment of the potential options and will be consulting on them between 31 July and 11 September. As advised by the Inspector, the options include looking at land safeguarded for future development in some parts of the borough as well as green belt.

The options include identifying land around Rectory Lane and Almond Brook in Standish or increasing the land take in the Golborne and Lowton areas on sites already put forward for housing in an earlier consultation in 2010. A number of Green Belt options around both Wigan and Leigh are also highlighted including an area to the north of Beech Hill and to the south of the Hawkley Hall area. The Council has though indicated that it does not prefer to release any Green Belt land for housing.

The Council is also proposing land at South of Atherton as a strategic location for housing, looking at identifying more land within the urban areas for housing, proposing a higher proportion of housing on an already identified mixed use site at Landgate and confirming the need to develop a site at Coldalhurst Lane at Astley which has been consulted on in the past.

There will be three specific drop-in sessions with planning officers. These are at:

* Chowbent Hall, Alderfold Street, Atherton on 14 August
* Standish Community Centre, Moody Street, Standish on 20 August
* Compassion in Action, Oaklands Road, Lowton on 22 August.

All of these sessions will be take place between 2pm and 8pm. Representations can be made up until noon on 11 September and can be made online on the Council's website,or by email to planningpolicy@wigan.gov.uk., or in writing to the Planning Policy team at the Council. Further information including details of the options is available on the Council's website www.wigan.gov.uk/ldfcorestrategy where representations can also be made, or at local libraries and Wigan Life Centre.

Director Economy at the Council, Steve Normington says:

"The Inspector requires us to come up with options to address the shortfall that he has identified, consult on them and report back to him in the Autumn. He wants us to look for more land than we had proposed in our submitted plan as he is not convinced by the evidence which the Council put forward in terms of delivery rates and the contribution of windfall sites which may come forward over the next 15 years. It is important that local communities consider these options carefully and tell us how the shortfall is best met."

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