WHILST the Coronavirus crisis continues to dominate public life, it is important to remember that other important issues are also under consideration.

Sometimes the powers-that-be rather wish that we would all rather forget this fact, so they can slip things under the radar whilst the crisis is ongoing.

So it is, of course, with Wigan Council.

Shortly, the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, or GMSF for short, will be coming before Wigan Council for consideration.

The GMSF is a plan for future housing and industrial development across the borough, and many of you will be unaware of what that plan contains.

This is the second version of the plan, and I am glad to say that the highly unpopular plan to develop the ‘South of Pennington’ greenbelt site has been dropped, after many years of campaigning both by myself and local residents (and rightly so).

Three controversial sites remain proposed for development in the GMSF however.

The ‘West of Gibfield’ site, in Atherton, The ‘North of Mosley Common’ site on the border of Astley and Tyldesley, and the ‘Pocket Nook Lane’ site in Lowton.

All three sites are controversial for a variety of reasons, and I shall be writing more about all of them in the coming weeks, but this week, I’d like to draw your attention to the plight of local farmer Mr Adamson, whose farm makes up the vast majority of the Pocket Nook Lane site.

Many of you will have seen the excellent Leigh Journal article earlier last week about Mr Adamson, whose farm is at risk of being swallowed up by both Wigan Council’s GMSF, and the Golborne Spur of HS2.

I have recently written about my opposition to the hated HS2 Golborne Spur, so I shall leave that subject for now, but it will come as no surprise to readers that Wigan Council supports that white elephant wholeheartedly too.

The most obnoxious aspect of the GMSF, as many of you will have already read in the Journal article, is that Wigan Council seeks to impose their plans on Mr Adamson and his family by legal force.

Wigan Council have stated that if Mr Adamson will not willingly sell his land for development, then they will effectively threaten to enact rarely used compulsory purchase powers to seize his land and hand it over to a developer, who will then build on the land.

The moral stench surrounding this proposal is so odious that even those who are normally staunch defenders of Wigan Council cannot justify this proposed course of action.

It is a classic case of David versus Goliath, with Mr Adamson representing the ordinary man in the street, the little guy, and Wigan Metro playing the role of, at best, a faceless uncaring bureaucrat, and at worst, an oppressive tyrant.

It is a part that Wigan Council plays ever so well.

Needless to say, I shall back Mr Adamson with all the strength I can muster. It is fair to say that local residents will back Mr Adamson overwhelmingly as well.

It is shameful that Wigan Council would treat a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen in this manner, but to the people of Leigh, it is sadly not surprising.

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