MORE than half of the first homes planned for a vast £300 million regeneration scheme in Leigh will be affordable, writes Local Democracy Reporter Niall Griffiths.

Wigan Council has already granted outline planning permission for 1,800 homes, employment and retail space across 178 acres of North Leigh Park.

The brownfield site has been used for coal mining, quarrying and sewage treatment in the past, but has fallen prey to high levels of fly tipping in recent years.

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The North Leigh Park site has been vacant for years and has become vulnerable to high levels of fly tipping. Pictures: Countryside Properties

Under proposals from Countryside Properties, the first stage of development would see 199 houses built off Nel Pan Lane.

A mixture of two, three and four-bedroom houses and apartments would be provided, with 81 affordable rent properties and 39 offered as shared ownership homes.

“The principle of residential development has already been established at outline stage,” says a report to Wigan Council’s planning committee.

“There are no significant adverse traffic, infrastructure or other environmental impacts of this development. 

“The site is within a sustainable location and will relate successfully with existing development in the area.”

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An overview of the first phase of development at North Leigh Park. Picture: Countryside Properties

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Many of the wider scheme’s features including play areas, footpaths, cycle ways and bridle paths, are also included within the reserved matters application.

But the first batch of houses has been met with four objections from Cllr John Vickers and people living nearby.

Cllr Vickers argues that the application is dependent on Wigan Council’s bid for £132 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), which remains outstanding.

The money would support a road linking the M58/M6 in the west of the borough to the M61 in the east, which will serve North Leigh Park and other housing projects.

Cllr Vickers said: “This application cannot be seen in isolation and should not be determined as such but as part of a wider scheme and the cumulative effects of such a scheme.

“Without this funding the link road cannot proceed and therefore this application should not be determined unless the bid is successful.”

But a spokeswoman for Wigan council said the development can proceed without the HIF money, adding: “Although this development would would be the first delivery of the HIF, if successful, North Leigh Park is not reliant on it.”

Wigan Council planning officers have recommended councillors to approve the reserved matters application on Tuesday, September 10.