RESIDENTS of Golborne and Lowton are to help shape the future of their communities.

The community group Golborne and Lowton West Voice has been given permission by Wigan Council to develop their own neighbourhood plan.

It would cover the Golborne and Lowton West electoral ward and large areas of green belt land to the north, including Byrom Wood.

Lowton East will not be included as it is seen as a "distinct and separate community", though councillors and a residents group there are happy with their neighbours going their own way.

The plan, informed by local opinion, would establish planning policies for the development and use of land in an area, such as where new and homes and offices should be built.

Improving public transport infrastructure, primarily through the reopening of Golborne railway station, would also be considered alongside the protection of green spaces.

Alan Percival, one of the group’s co-founders, says the council has given a boost to the group’s vision of creating a "thriving community" by 2030.

“We’ve been keeping our fingers crossed, and it was a great relief to see it approved so we can move ahead with starting the plan,” he said.

“I can’t speak on the pressures on schools and doctor’s surgeries, but the traffic situation is horrendous.

“Over a thousand homes have been built here with no improvement to infrastructure, and hopefully the neighbourhood plan will help to address this.

“We’re also losing green space hand over fist because of new building, and one of our big aims is to protect and improve our these spaces.”

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The proposals were put out to a public consultation in July and August and received 23 responses, all of which were generally supportive.

Several supporters said the plan would complement the ongoing efforts to reopen Golborne’s railway station, which campaigners say will bring significant benefits to the local community.

The future of the station will be included in the plan, says Mr Percival, with the hope that better public transport infrastructure could reduce congestion on the roads.

If approved by Wigan Council, it would be the second of its kind in the borough after a similar plan for Standish was adopted in July.

Similarly to Golborne and Lowton West Voice, the Standish Voice group were concerned about an influx of housing developments in recent years.

Their plan prevents new developments being built on greenfield land until 1,148 of the homes already permitted are built and occupied.

A referendum saw 94.5 per cent of voters back the Standish plans, with just under a third of voters village turning out.