FAIRGROUND rides and lorries parked up on green belt land in Lowton must be removed, the council's planning committee has ruled after an 11-month battle with neighbours living next door to the site who say their house prices have fallen.

The heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and equipment are being stored behind Sandy Lane at a site last used for car sales – but this new use has not been granted planning permission.

An enforcement notice telling the owner to remove the HGVs and rides from the site was served in May after complaints from neighbours late last year.

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Planners at the local authority said using the land for this storage of these large vehicles and equipment, similar in scale to neighbouring properties, encroaches on the openness of the countryside – and councillors agreed.

In a statement read out to the planning committee on Tuesday, Amanda Farrell told councillors, on behalf of residents, that house prices there have devalued.

She said: “Would you like to live next door to a fun fair and all it entails?

“To the side of my property is a 40ft HGV backed up to the boundary fence. The weight of this vehicle is causing concrete to crack on my side of the property.

“Brook Street, an unadopted road facing to the right of the entrance to the said property, is used to reverse manoeuvre the equipment into the yard, therefore, blocking off Sandy Lane.

“The road surface has deteriorated over the past 12 months. Residents have had to repair the surface and are investing in control barriers to stop the above, all at an unnecessary cost to them.”

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The resident also said that activities on site are not limited to the day only.

She told the committee that the site was floodlit at 2.45am on September 15 to allow the occupier, Mr Pont, to work on the fairground equipment.

But speaking on behalf of the applicant at the committee meeting, Geoff Clark of Clark Planning Consultants Ltd described some complaints as “spurious”.

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He said: “When the business is running in a normal working environment it’s often the case that it’s not brought back to the site for any significant repair, but carried out on the relevant fairground.

“The applicants have been trying to find a suitable site for their equipment together with a dwelling – whether it’s a caravan or a house – especially in the area Mr Pont grew up in and where his six-year-old son goes to school.

“Such sites are very difficult to find. They bought this site in good faith knowing it had a commercial industrial history.

“With suitable conditions, it is felt that this non-open site could be reasonably used for the proposed activity.”

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But councillors on the committee voted in favour of the recommendations by Wigan Council’s planning officers to refuse retrospective planning permission.

Golborne and Lowton West councillor Gena Merrett said traffic in Sandy Lane is a nightmare

“It’s narrow. We sometimes have cars parked on it. It’s really difficult. We do get HGVs going up and down it which just adds to the whole issue.

“But clearly, it’s not appropriate to have a residential area with all that massive fairground equipment. I totally understand the frustrations of the residents there.”

An appeal of the enforcement notice will be heard by the planning inspectorate.