A LIST of objections has been submitted regarding the rebuild of a primary school in Leigh.

More than two years ago, it was announced that St Thomas' primary school was one of four schools across the borough that would benefit from the government's £1billion schools rebuilding programme.

Along with Fred Longworth High in Tyldesley, St John Fisher in Wigan, and Byrchall High in Ashton-in-Makerfield, the Astley Street primary school was included in the ten-year scheme to refurbish and modernise schools and colleges across the country.

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Leigh Journal: The existing school buildings would be demolished on Astley StreetThe existing school buildings would be demolished on Astley Street (Image: Google Maps)
Validated by Wigan Council last month, plans have been forward to rebuild St Thomas primary on the playing fields of Hawkhurst Street, a short walk from its current location on Astley Street, off Chapel Street.

Planning documents show the intention to erect a single and two-storey education facility on the Hawkhurst Street site, along with new vehicle and pedestrian access points and a parking area.

The plans also show a sports playing field on site, while the existing school buildings at Astley Street will be demolished with the "reinstatement of the area into open space with new site boundaries."

Leigh Journal: A proposed site map of the new schoolA proposed site map of the new school (Image: Wigan Council)

Since the application was put forward, almost two dozen objections have been submitted with residents expressing their concerns about the impacts of a new school in this location.

Many of the objections stress that the loss of the green space would be to the detriment of residents' mental health as well as restricting children and sports teams' access to safe playing fields.

Other objectors have noted the potential issues of parking and traffic congestion around the area, as well as the potential devaluation of surrounding properties.

One of the objectors to the school plans is James Morley, who is a member of the Leigh and Atherton Independents political group. Mr Morley says that Leigh's MP James Grundy is also concerned about the plans.

Leigh Journal: James Morley (left) of the Leigh & Atherton IndependentsJames Morley (left) of the Leigh & Atherton Independents (Image: Leigh & Atherton Independents)
Mr Morley said: "While many of the residents do not object in the school being rebuilt, they are extremely concerned about the location in which it is to be built.

"The land identified for construction is the final piece of green space on this small estate. A place which the wider community use for all manner of uses [such as] sports, recreation, relaxation, and dog walking to name a few.

"We then have the more concerning issues with the proposed location. Traffic on both Holden Road and Manchester Road will increase significantly, CO2 emissions will increase and worsen the air quality around the local area, child safety will be a major issue with the increased traffic, including crossing two of the busiest roads in Leigh to find a open green play area.

"There are [also] major privacy issues that many residents have. These issues are all around the proposed first floor of the new building [which is] in direct view of rear gardens and bedrooms.

"Finally the loss of this green space could affect the mental health of the elderly residents in this area. Some are not able to travel far and use this area to relax and unwind when walking their dogs.

"Myself, residents, and MP for Leigh James Grundy, have all raised similar concerns regarding the use of this site for the proposed new school.

"We believe other sites may be better suited, including rebuilding on the current site of the school."

Highlighting residents' concerns, Mr Morley said he will be submitting a letter of objection to the council surrounding the Hawkhurst Street plans. The planning application can be found here.