Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Police cuts

Recently I spent a day with GM Police in Ashton in Makerfield and I raised their concerns about cuts to police numbers since 2010. Ministers will still not acknowledge the impact on frontline policing.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Prime Minister's Questions

The #RaisetheRate campaign aims to lobby Government to increase the funding rate for sixth form students that has been frozen at £4,000 per student, per year since 2013.

The campaign uses recent research from London Economics to press for a £760 per student increase to sixth form funding that is raised in line with inflation each year.

The associations behind the campaign state that “only a significant increase in the national funding rate for 16 to 18 year olds will make it possible for the government to meet its objectives for a strong post-Brexit economy and a socially mobile, highly educated workforce.”

The £760 increase is described as the “minimum required” to increase student support services to the required level, protect minority subjects such as languages that are at risk of being dropped, and increase extra-curricular activities, work experience opportunities and university visits.

Winstanley College and St John Rigby are two award winning colleges that deliver fantastic results in challenging circumstances as cuts erode their core budgets. The reality is that without proper funding in place, then something has to give and it is our students who ultimately pay the price with courses cut and reduced opportunities for enrichment through pastoral care.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Greenbelt land at Junction 25, M6

I have received confirmation that a planning application will be submitted in the summer to develop greenbelt land at junction 25 Bryn/Winstanley. The development will comprise of 1.44 million sq ft of floorspace across 8 warehouses.

Let nobody be in any doubt, this application will destroy greenbelt land in the Bryn and Winstanley area and will have a huge impact on residents in nearby local communities. I do not believe that any ‘exceptional circumstances’ warrant release of greenbelt land at this site and I will be calling on the Planning Committee to reject this application.

I would encourage residents to attend the public drop in event to be held on Thursday, 24th May at St Aidans Social Centre between 4pm and 8pm or on Friday, 25th May between 5.30pm to 8pm at The Deanery High School, Frog Lane.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Fairtrade Fortnight

St Aidan’s Church, Winstanley invited people to take a step for Fairtrade today and join them at their annual Traidcraft event.

The event was organised by parishioner Patricia Boyle and attended by local residents and members of St Aidan’s Church congregation. Pupils from St Aidan’s Primary School also popped along to learn more about Fairtrade.

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

To tackle poverty you need to increase trade as well as give aid. Fairtrade helps millions of people in the developing world. When we choose to eat, drink or wear fair trade products we help change the lives of millions of farmers, workers and their families in developing countries.

I back Fairtrade Fortnight because it encourages people in Wigan to consider the power they have as consumers which does play an important part in changing lives for the better.

Friday, 9 February 2018

I support campaign for UK ivory ban to protect elephants

I attended an event at Westminster organised by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Endangered Species to highlight the elephant poaching crisis and public support for a UK ivory ban. I was able to view some of the many ivory items recently donated by members of the public to IFAW’s UK ivory surrender.

IFAW invited people to surrender their own ivory to be destroyed as part of a campaign to close the UK’s ivory market and save this iconic species from the threat of extinction. The surrender has received overwhelming support from the UK public with almost 500 ivory items weighing around 150kgs donated in just a few months.

IFAW has run previous successful public ivory surrenders in the UK in 2004, 2011 and 2014, but has received far more donations in the recent surrender which ran from mid-July last year to the end of January. Items received range from whole raw and worked tusks to statues, carvings and jewellery.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW told me that there is clearly huge public momentum in the UK for an ivory ban.

With elephant populations at an all-time low and the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis which is killing at least 20,000 elephants each year, it is fantastic to see so many people keen to give up their ivory. We thank everyone who has surrendered ivory as well as the huge number of politicians who are supporting the campaign for a UK ivory ban.

Polling commissioned by IFAW reveals that the vast majority of the UK public want to protect elephants with a UK trade ban and do not wish to purchase ivory themselves. An overwhelming 95% of respondents polled by YouGov stated that they would not be interested in purchasing antique ivory. A YouGov survey of MPs also found 97% of MPs to be supportive of either a total ivory ban or a ban with some exemptions.

Time is running out for elephants and we must act now before it is too late. It is shocking seeing all this donated ivory when in reality each piece of ivory represents a dead elephant, shot or poisoned for its tusks. Clearly from the amount of ivory donated to IFAW’s ivory surrender more and more people recognise that ivory should only be valued on a live elephant. It is very good news that all this ivory will be put beyond use.

The Government recently announced that it had received more than 70,000 responses to its ivory ban consultation, one of the largest ever public responses to a Defra consultation, with the overwhelming majority analysed so far supportive of a ban.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Let's bring clear vision to the 2.5bn people worldwide denied it

Clearly - Glasses On - UK Politics from Clearly on Vimeo.

A campaign to bring clear vision to the 2.5 billion people worldwide denied it as quickly as possible came to Parliament this week.

The Clearly campaign has had support from celebrities such as Annie Lennox, Lenny Henry, James Corden, Brenda Blethyn and Niall Horan from One Direction. They have called on Commonwealth leaders to put poor vision on the agenda of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April.

Shockingly, a third of the world’s population, 2.5 billion people, suffer from poor vision, which is the world’s largest unmet disability.

Nine out of 10 of these people just need a simple pair of glasses – a solution that has been around for centuries and can be produced for as little as £1.

I wouldn’t be able to do my job or go about my daily business without my contact lens/glasses, and I know many of my constituents feel the same. The ability to get a simple sight test and buy glasses is often taken for granted in the UK but it is something that so many around the world are unable to do.

I’m joining the Clearly campaign and calling on the Government and Commonwealth countries to put ‘vision for everyone’ on the agenda of their Heads of Government Meeting in London in April.

More info at www.clearly.world

Monday, 4 December 2017

Makerfield Christmas Veterans' Lunch

On Saturday (2nd Dec 17), I hosted my annual Christmas Veterans’ Lunch at St Matthews Parish Hall, Highfield and was joined by over 120 veterans from across the Makerfield Constituency.

I welcomed Mr Mark Dumican, Headteacher – St Edmund Arrowsmith High School and Deputy Leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux as my special guests. Councillors from across the political spectrum representing wards in Makerfield were also present.

Cllr Clive Morgan, a former Welsh Guard and veteran of the 1982 Falklands War, was the MC for the day. The Rev Sian Gasson was on hand to open the event with prayers followed by the Exhortation led by Mr John Burns (Chair – Ashton in Makerfield Royal British Legion) and Mr Lawrence Powers (Burma Star Assoc).

Tucking into a traditional 3 course Christmas lunch provided by H&H Catering Ltd, guests were also entertained with a musical performance by pupils of St Edmund Arrowsmith High School.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Opening of Winstanley Warriors FC Sports Hub

I was joined by former Wigan Athletic FC defender Emmerson Boyce to officially open Winstanley Warriors FC’s new sports hub on Friday 3 November. The project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant has enabled Winstanley Warriors FC to install a new floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) and refurbish their existing changing pavilion. The new 3G AGP, which caters for 7v7 and small-sided play, is in addition to the club’s three existing full-size grass pitches, 9v9 grass pitch and a training area.

The pitches and changing pavilion, which comprises two refurbished team changing rooms and a large officials’ room, will be used by the club’s 28 teams ranging from the Under-7 level upwards. Local clubs and schools, including the Hope SEN School and Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School, will also be able to use the facilities.

Winstanley Warriors FC has close ties with Wigan Athletic FC, with players having been scouted by the Latics in the past. The Wigan Athletic Community Trust will take advantage of the facilities at the upgraded sports hub, to deliver a range of community outreach programmes. These will include ‘Every Player Counts’ sessions for disabled pupils from local schools, helping them to get involved and enjoy football, and Premier League Kicks.

The club worked in partnership with the Lancashire FA to secure a £418,714 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund with support from Wigan Council and local ward councillors in Worsley Mesnes and Winstanley.

My thanks go to Winstanley Warriors FC for inviting me to help open their new all-weather pitch and improved changing provision. It is excellent to see the new facilities already in use – a real boost for grassroots sport in the area. It is great news that the improvements made to the sports hub is going to increase football participation.

The club have worked really hard to make this project a success, with the support of the Football Foundation – funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England. The Foundation delivers great facilities like this all over the country, and I’m sure that this one is going to encourage local people to get involved in sport and enjoy themselves.

Monday, 8 May 2017

School funding cuts will betray a generation of our young people

I kicked off my re-election campaign in Ashton in Makerfield on Saturday, 6th May.

I used the launch to step up the fight against damaging Tory proposals to cut local school budgets and collected hundreds of signatures for my petition calling on local people to join me in the campaign.

Announced in December the Tory proposals will see the vast majority of schools in the Wigan Borough lose significant funding.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) have performed their own research into the cuts and their impact finding that 98% of schools across the country will have per-pupil funding cut.

In Wigan, website www.schoolcuts.org.uk calculates Wigan Schools will lose a combined £20.9 million equivalent to 563 teaching posts – a cut of £505 for every pupil by 2020.

The Tories are overseeing the first real terms cut in the schools budget for over two decades.

The Government has not made clear how the savings will be made, nor have they clearly stated to schools the “scale and pace” of cost-cutting that is required. However, it appears to me that many local schools will face the prospect of job losses to balance the books, depriving our children of the excellent education they deserve.

It makes no economic sense to betray a generation of our young people. Already we have a shortage of teachers, class sizes are soaring and reports from across the country show that the number of school places is not keeping up with the demand.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Ashton & Bryn Veterans Lunch

I spent a lovely afternoon with veterans at Garswood Hall Community Club, Bryn recently.

The luncheon was organised by Cllr Ann Rampling with entertainment provided by pupils of RL Hughes Primary School.

I know that Cllr Rampling is a strong champion of our Armed Forces and everybody present appreciated her efforts in making the day a great success.

Attendees tucked into a buffet provided by Travelling Teamrooms.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

I am supporting Bowel Cancer UK’s campaign to urge more people to take part in bowel cancer screening and save lives, as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April.

More than 44 people die from bowel cancer every day in the UK, it’s the nation’s second biggest cancer killer.  However, it shouldn’t be. It’s treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

I would urge my constituents who are sent a bowel screening test to use it. Taking part in bowel cancer screening is the best way to get diagnosed early. If you are over 60, take the test when you receive it in the post. If you are younger, tell the people over 60 in your life to take the test. Early diagnosis really can save lives.”

One in 14 men and one in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime but it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat. If you’re registered with a GP and aged 60-74, you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

Visit Bowel Cancer UK’s website to find out how you can get involved in their campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

It's time to give a s**t about mental illness

New figures from mental health research charity MQ show that four in 10 (42%) people in the UK have come to believe that mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression are now an inevitable part of life, such is the lack of understanding and action around mental health.

84% say that not enough is being done to tackle mental illness for the future. And 68% of parents believe that having more education about mental illnesses could prevent suffering for future generations.

Three children in an average class are affected by a diagnosable mental illness. But many are waiting a decade between experiencing their first symptoms and getting help. Only a quarter of young people referred to services receive appropriate care.

Overall only £8 is spent on research per person affected on mental health in the UK, which is 22 times less than per person for cancer (£178) and 14 times less than dementia spend (£110) and despite 75% of mental illness starting before the age of 18, less than 30% of the total mental health research spend is focused on children and young people. As a result, the majority of mental healthcare resources are not designed or developed for young people, leading to poor treatment outcomes in young people and hindering prevention efforts.

Mental illness should not be seen as an inevitable part of life. The current state of mental health treatment would simply never be accepted for a physical condition.

MQ’s ‘We Swear’ campaign aims to make it clear that radical change is needed right now and asks the public to show they ‘give a s**t’ by swearing to take on mental illness.

Through research we can get to grips with this growing crisis in young people's mental health - and build progress towards much-needed hope for everyone affected.

Swear to take on mental health. Search #WeSwear on social media or visit MQ mentalhealth for further information as to how you can help.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

My letter to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) consultation

16th December 2016

Dear Sir/Madam

Draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

I write to comment on general aspects of the draft GMSF, and in particular the proposed removal of the Green Belt status from three areas of land in my constituency of Makerfield.

General Issues about the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework:

A number of Greater Manchester Members of Parliament have raised concerns about aspects of the Framework. As advised, whilst we support the ambition of the strategic plan for jobs and growth for our city region we are concerned about the Draft Plan as published. I enclose a further copy of that letter for consideration.

In addition to the points raised in the attached letter, I am also concerned about the democratic deficit aspect of the GM Spatial Framework decision making process. If devolution is to work, then it cannot by-pass communities and their elected Councillors who must be given the opportunity to raise these matters in the Council Chamber. So far I have not been given assurances that this will be the case.

The GMSF needs to be of the highest quality and support the aspirations of both the combined authorities and the residents of all the Boroughs of Greater Manchester; a model that others can follow.

28.7.1 M6C1 Junction 25 (Wigan)

On the 15th August 2013, Mr. Kevin Ward BA, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, produced his report on the examination into the Wigan Core Strategy. The report was prepared following a number of hearings, one of which I attended to present a case against the Council’s proposal to allow industrial and logistics development on land off junction 25.

In summary, the Inspector determined that:

taking all factors into account, the benefits of the proposed broad location in terms of potential investment and job creation are not sufficient to outweigh the adverse effects in relation to the Green Belt and other matters. Exceptional circumstances to justify removal of the land in question from the Green Belt do not exist. The proposed broad location at Junction 25 of the M6 is neither justified nor consistent with national policy.

The Inspector advised that in order for the Core Strategy to be approved, this proposal would have to be removed, which is what happened. Three years ago Wigan Council conceded that its argument to remove green belt status from this area of land was not strong enough. The Council’s argument today, in relation to an even larger area of green belt at this location is no different I would argue, than it was previously.

The main issues of contention are that:

1) The Green Belt in this location separates the two settlements of Wigan and Ashton. Its removal would allow substantial development beyond the existing built up areas. This would allow sprawl of the built up area and encroachment into the countryside.
2) The site in question contributes positively to the overall appearance of the settlements and is crossed by public rights of way which provide a recreational resource for the local community.  The resource value of any maintained or rerouted rights of way, which would then no longer be in an open land situation, would be diminished, regardless of any amount of mitigating measures taken.
3) I do question if the Council requires this land to provide an adequate supply of employment land across the borough as a whole for the GMSF. In 2013 the Planning Inspector noted 200 hectares of land would be appropriate during the life of Wigan’s Core Strategy to 2026. In this respect the junction 25 proposal was not considered necessary as significant opportunities for economic growth in the borough could be met from existing sites, town centre opportunities and the proposed broad location for new development involving safeguarded land. Whilst I appreciate the extended life of the GMSF, I do wonder about the calculations that have been used to reach the levels agreed. The CPRE also queries the employment land and housing requirements identified within the framework.
4) The removal of this greenbelt would have the potential to undermine efforts to promote regeneration elsewhere in the borough and act as a disincentive to developers to assist in regeneration aspirations. Brownfield sites could be rejected in favour of this more desirable and potentially profitable green field area.
5) Whilst I can see there is some advantage in warehousing and distribution development having direct access to the motorway system, I and the former Inspector were not convinced that it was a critical factor in attracting employment. There are other sites available a little further from the motorway that would offer a reasonable prospect of attracting business. Also, removal of this greenbelt status would set a precedent and put under threat any greenbelt land close to a motorway junction.
6) Is this development proposal exceptional?  Currently, within about a two mile radius, there is the South Lancashire Industrial Estate and the Landgate Industrial Estate providing warehousing. Large scale housing and employment development has received outline permission in Bryn. There are also several other similar developments proposed in the adjoining Boroughs of Leyland and St. Helens just over the nearby constituency boundary at this point including Florida North and Haydock Point.
The Inspector previously agreed, on inspection of the Jt. 25 proposal, that the type of employment uses envisaged are typical of those found on employment sites within the borough and elsewhere and were not exceptional as to warrant removal of the Green Belt status on this site. There has been no change in the proposed use of the land since it was previously rejected.
7) The cumulative effect of the developments highlighted at 6), together with development proposed for the Bell at junction 26, also raise concerns about the impact on air quality. I note the aims of the GMSF in terms of air quality but I question how the considerable increase of HGV movements in my constituency along and around the M6 will not further compromise air quality.
8) Insufficient account is still being taken of the specific circumstances relating to junction 25 on the motorway. One of the main arguments for the Council putting this site forward is its proximity to the M6 providing easy access. However, this junction only provides direct access to the proposed development to or from the south. Vehicles travelling north on the M6 from this site would have to find a route through the already congested local areas to reach Junction 26 or travel south on the motorway to junction 24 and turn around. The idea of a two way junction 25 is no more than an aspiration and there are no proposals for such a scheme to be implemented in line with the employment plans.

Given the above, the Council’s case for inclusion of the site at Junction 25 of the M6 motorway for logistics and distribution purposes is not sufficient to outweigh the adverse effects in relation to the Green Belt and other matters and is therefore not in line with national policy.

28.7.2 M6C2 Junction 26 (Wigan) (known as The Bell)

1) The Green Belt in this location borders on the built up area of Kitt Green and its removal would allow substantial development beyond the existing built up area. This would allow sprawl of the built up area and encroachment into the countryside.
2) The Bell provides a barrier between the neighbourhoods of Kitt Green, Orrell and Pemberton and prevents the merging of these areas.
3) The site in question contributes positively to the settlements in the area and is used as a recreational resource for the community. It is the green lung in a built up area.
4) The air quality in this area is already compromised I believe as the site is close to the motorway and the Heinz development which involves a substantial amount of heavy vehicle movement. The cumulative impact of this proposal together with other developments on land off the M6 gives rise for serious concerns in relation to air quality.
5) The removal of this greenbelt would have the potential to undermine efforts to promote regeneration elsewhere in the borough and act as a disincentive to developers to assist in regeneration aspirations. Brownfield sites could be rejected in favour of this more desirable and potentially profitable green field area.
6) There is an acknowledged serious traffic problem in the area of Orrell and the proposed development of The Bell includes a link road to junction 26 of the motorway. This would be a major undertaking and may necessitate the demolition of residential property and potentially involve the Council exercising compulsory purchase powers. Concerns about the feasibility and deliverability of such a scheme, I believe, puts in question the whole proposal.

In connection with the consideration of its Core Strategy, Wigan Council previously included proposals to remove the Green Belt status from The Bell. However, this proposal was later dropped, I understand, because of problems associated with the potential development of this site including the construction of the necessary access link road from junction 26 of the M6 motorway. The problems remain today.

I do not believe the benefits of removing the Green Belt status from this area of land outweigh the detriment to the local area. The Green Belt at this location is still required. I also question if this proposal/development is feasible/deliverable given the difficulties outlined.

OA28 Liverpool Road, Hindley (Wigan) (Development known as South Hindley Urban Village).

It is proposed to remove the Green Belt Status on an area of land required for the link road through South Hindley Urban Village. Whilst I do not oppose this proposal, as I appreciate the road is vital to relieve traffic problems in the area, I would ask that the minimum amount of greenbelt land be removed for the road purposes.

In general I oppose the removal of Green Belt which serves the purposes of preventing Urban Sprawl, the merging of neighbouring towns and encroachment into the community’s greenspace and encouraging the development of derelict and other sites.  It is vital therefore that the green status be removed only from the smallest site required for road purposes.

Your consideration to the concerns raised both in this email and the letter from the group of Greater Manchester MPs attached would be appreciated.

I wait to hear from you.

Yours sincerely,

Yvonne Fovargue MP

I also secured the support of several Greater Manchester MPs who added their names as signatories to the letter below addressed to the Interim Mayor - Tony Lloyd.

Mr Tony Lloyd
Interim GM Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester
Openshaw Complex
Lawton Street
M11 2NS

16th December 2016

Dear Tony,

Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

We as Greater Manchester MPs wish to support the ambition of a strategic plan for jobs and growth for our city region.

However, we are concerned about the Draft Plan as published.

The timing of the transport infrastructure to support the expansion of housing and employment sites is crucial. Leaving the infrastructure to be developed piecemeal after developments are completed will lead to inevitable traffic congestion on our already overcrowded road network.

This leads to our second concern, that of air quality. GM already fails to meet required standards and additional traffic, particularly HGV traffic on a grid locked road, can only lead to further deterioration and, potentially, fines being devolved to local authorities.

Combining the spatial plan with the review of the Greenbelt has also raised concerns. Greenbelt was designed for specific purposes, retaining the identity of local communities, preventing urban sprawl and should only be redesignated in ‘exceptional circumstances’. The plan should ensure maximum use of brownfield sites prior to any review of greenbelt.

Additionally the outer Boroughs have concerns that our neighbours plans, which will impact Boroughs in GM have not been considered and there is a lack of joined up working.

We understand all local authorities desire to maximise their business rates to minimise the impact of the new localisation of business rates which will affect some local authorities adversely but this should not lead to a race to the bottom.

Whilst we recognise the need for new housing we are concerned about the apparent lack of affordable homes in these plans. Our young people in particular need access to affordable homes to rent or buy and these needs must be taken into consideration in any housing plan.

The plan should be rightly ambitious for GM but we need the right mix of housing and employment in the right place and this draft doesn’t facilitate this ambition.

It is important that the GMSF is of the highest quality and supports the aspirations of both the combined authorities and the residents of all the Boroughs as Greater Manchester will be the first area to bring forward their plan and should be seen as a trailblazer and a model to which others can aspire.

Yours sincerely,

Yvonne Fovargue MP
Chris Green MP
Kate Green MP
Andrew Gwynne MP
Barbara Keeley MP
Liz McInnes MP
Lisa Nandy MP
Yasmin Quereshi MP

Monday, 5 December 2016

Junction 25 M6 and The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF)

Last month I held a public meeting in Winstanley to consider the proposals to include land off junction 25, M6, for ‘new industrial and warehousing’, in the draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. Many residents will recall the successful campaign in 2011/2012 when together with the M6 South of Wigan Action Group we stopped this proposal from being included in the Wigan Core Strategy. However, due to devolution of power to Greater Manchester, the potential removal of the Greenbelt status for this site is again being considered.

As far as I can see, nothing has changed in relation to this proposal since the inspector upheld residents’ objections in 2013.  I, therefore, will be objecting again to this proposed development of our greenbelt and will be including, for your information, the following issues of concern:

The purposes of including this land in the Green Belt are still relevant. The need to stop urban sprawl, the merging of neighbouring towns and encroachment of the Countryside.
The argument to remove the greenbelt status from this site is not sufficiently exceptional or strong enough to release this land for development. Nothing has changed in this respect since the Planning Inspector agreed recently this was the case.
Adverse amenity impact and disturbance for residents due to air pollution, loss of wildlife, loss of open land/recreational site, noise nuisance. Any amount of safeguarding carried out by developers cannot alleviate the detrimental impact on residents.
Traffic: – Proposed development will result in a massive increase in traffic volume in the already problematic areas of Bryn/Ashton, Pemberton and Orrell.  As Junction 25 is not two way, northbound vehicles will have to seek alternative routes through the local community to the M6. Creating a two way junction 25 is no more than an aspiration.
The Planning Inspector just 3 years ago agreed that the Council’s argument to remove the greenbelt status from land off junction 25 was not strong enough and supported residents’ objections. Nothing has changed since then other than the area of the land under consideration has been increased, exacerbating the negative impact on the local community.

Should you wish to submit your own objections then comments must be made by 5pm on Friday 23rd December 2016.  

I did ask for an extension to this date but was advised that the consultation period was already two weeks longer than the guidelines require.

Those constituents wishing to object can use the concerns I have listed if you wish, but I would also encourage you to include your own views on the impact of this proposed development.  I encourage people to also view the M6 South of Wigan website for updates and suggested content for writing objection letters.

An update meeting convened by the M6 South of Wigan Action Group will be held at St Aidan’s Social Centre, Highfield Grange Ave on Thursday, 8th December at 7pm. 

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

Today, I have launched a campaign calling for the retention of greenbelt status on land identified in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) as suitable for ‘industry and warehousing’.

The land in question is located at Junction 25 of the M6 motorway in the wards of Bryn and Winstanley.

I led a campaign with the support of residents to retain the current greenbelt status of the land in the early part of the current decade when the then emerging Wigan Council Core Strategy sought to remove greenbelt status. A Government Independent Inspector in early 2013 confirmed that the site would remain in greenbelt up to 2026. Wigan Council adopted the amended Core Strategy later that year.

Residents are invited to attend a public meeting on Tuesday, 15th November at St Aidan’s Social Centre, Winstanley commencing at 7pm. 

The GMSF identifies the potential for Wigan to provide over 1.2million sq metres of ‘industrial and warehousing’ floorspace as part of a 8.1million sq metres indicative capacity for the Greater Manchester region.

This proposal will give rise to the loss of open space and urban sprawl that will see Winstanley, Goose Green and Ashton/Bryn merge together.

Brown field sites should be prioritised for development and we need a GMSF plan which reflects this.

There is no doubt that residents living in the vicinity of the site will shudder at the thought of huge warehouses with HGVs clogging up an already busy A49 corridor that struggles to cope with current traffic loads and the impact on air quality.

I am not prepared to see the communities I represent subjected to this proposal and I am calling on residents to join me in the fight to protect our greenbelt.