DEVELOPERS have opted not to make any tweaks to a controversial housing development site before it appears before Wigan’s planning committee for a second time.

A decision on outline plans for up to 830 homes in Atherton was deferred in July after members agreed with residents’ concerns that an access point to the site poses a safety risk.

The delay was against officer recommendations and despite the council’s highways team and Transport for Greater Manchester stating they are happy for the scheme to proceed.

Councillors said they were adopting a "common sense" approach and asked for further discussions to take place between the developer Tarleton Estates and the town hall.

A report published ahead of next week’s meeting of the planning authority reveals discussions have taken place and "a further information report’ has been submitted by the developer which is hoped to provide ‘further detail and clarification".

The planning report adds that this further information "does not involve any changes to the application and has not necessitated any further consultation or publicity".

Officers have therefore recommended that the committee should be minded to approve the bid, as they did at July’s meeting, highlighting that the council cannot currently demonstrate a five year housing supply.

The bid for the land south of Atherton includes access from Leigh Road, Bee Fold Lane and Crab Tree Lane.

Cllr Fred Walker, Labour member for Leigh East, told the previous meeting: “I know that is not the best site for access off Leigh Road. Common sense says we defer it for discussions with the developer.

“No-one is arguing about the principle of development, here. I haven’t heard a single objection.

“I think most of us could live with a simple realignment a little bit further down the road so there would be better sight lines.”

The committee also heard from residents who expressed concerns about road safety, congestion and the underground high pressure gas main running along the site.

Cllr Stuart Gerrard, Independent representative for Atherton, said: “We’ve got to put the residents’ health and safety first more than anything and I really do think this needs to be deferred.”

The report for next week’s meeting states objections have also been received from MPs Chris Green and Jo Platt.

But it also adds: “For clarity it should be noted that the application had not received any objections from any of the technical consultees including those relating to highways and transportation matters.”

Highways officers say moving the Leigh Road junction further to the south would lead to "no improvement in safety" but would involve using land of St Michael and All Angels Church, which could in turn "cause a significant delay…whilst achieving no benefit to highway safety".

The report concludes:  “The site is in a sustainable location, independently accessed from the wider area of safeguarded land and can make a contribution to the early delivery of housing in the borough.”

Developers have agreed a package of section 106 payments to the council worth £1.8m for additional primary school places, £950,000 for off-site highway works, £275,000 for on-site open space and £860,000 for off-site recreation and open space facilities.

Wigan’s planning committee will meet tomorrow, Tuesday.