COUNCILLORS look poised to give the go-ahead for the development of 236 homes on agricultural land in Lowton.

Members of Wigan’s planning committee will discuss the Morris Homes application for land adjacent to Pocket Nook Farm on Tuesday (March 12).

But after the Wigan council agreed for the land to be included in the soon-to-be ratified Places for Everyone strategic development plan for Greater Manchester, refusal seems unlikely.

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Leigh Journal: How the Pocket Nook homes are planned to lookHow the Pocket Nook homes are planned to look (Image: Morris Homes)
The detailed plan now includes the demolition of the Pocket Nook Farm buildings, the construction of the homes with associating parking, landscaping, drainage systems, and vehicle access from the A579 Atherleigh Way.

If approved, Morris Homes will contribute more than £1.5million towards the Golborne and Lowton Infrastructure Plan in an arrangement known as a Section 106 agreement.

It will also chip in £2,500 for the management and evaluation of a travel plan, with 25 per cent of the houses needing to be be affordable.

Included in the plan is a new road junction and ‘spine road’ designed to accommodate bus services in the future.

The application site is east of the recently cancelled HS2 line, and although a railway station is not part of the plan, the development is ‘not considered to prohibit’ such a facility from coming forward in the future.

Leigh Journal: 63 objections had been made to the proposals63 objections had been made to the proposals (Image: Morris Homes)
Meanwhile, a total of 63 objections to the plan were made after the plan was publicised, including from Leigh Conservative MP James Grundy, and local councillors Kevin Anderson and Kath Houlton.

They say the development will have an adverse impact on the already ‘over-developed community of Lowton’.

Another argument is that the houses are not needed and that the infrastructure in the area is already at capacity because of the road links to surrounding towns, leading to increased travel times.

Visibility concerns over the new road junction on Atherliegh Way were also voiced, as well as the impact on public right-of-way routes.

It also argued that there is a lack of parking provision in the development and that consideration should be given to traffic calming measures.

The Pocket Nook scheme is one of three in Wigan which feature in the Places for Everyone (PfE) plan, which is due for final ratification on March 21.

Others include a potential to build a link road between Junction 25 of the M6 and Junction 5 of the M61 at Westhoughton, with congestion between Wigan and Bolton seen as one of the major obstacles to growth in the north of Greater Manchester. Rail and bus links will also be improved.

The adoption of the plan means development sites at Junction 25 of the M6 (employment), on land north of Mosley Common (housing) and land west of Gibfield in Atherton (housing and employment) are removed from the Green Belt.