Questions and Answers - 2019

Question Reference Number 86416

In terms of regenerating Leigh, do the Council (under Greater Manchester Mayoral direction) have the extended powers to commandeer and demolish derelict buildings? This is in reference to the buildings at Leigh bridge, which are an absolute eye sore and the demolition would immediately improve the outlook of the town. Are there any plans for this? 

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration

Thank you for the query you submitted via the Council website regarding the potential for the Council to demolish derelict buildings at Leigh Bridge.

I believe the buildings you refer to are located on the east side of St Helens Road, either side of West Bridgewater Street between the canal and Arc Car Wash. I agree that these buildings present a poor image of the area but I would like to reassure you that the Council is exploring how to tackle them as part of wider regeneration plans for Leigh. You may be aware that Leigh town centre is a GM Mayor Town Centre Challenge site also.

As you may be aware these properties are not owned by the Council, they are privately owned. The Council does have statutory powers to acquire property through compulsory purchase. The GM Mayor has the same powers. Compulsory purchase is a tool to assemble land needed to help deliver social, environmental and economic change and it can be appropriate to contribute toward urban regeneration. However, government guidance is very clear that a compulsory purchase order should only be made where there is a compelling case in the public interest and even then, only as a last resort. The emphasis should be on bringing forward development through negotiation with private sector interests. There are stringent conditions and controls on the use of compulsory purchase as it ultimately takes property away from the legal owners. The compulsory purchase process can also take a long period of time (typically 18 months for a relatively simple acquisition) and can be an expensive process involving legal costs and compensation. Furthermore there needs to be a redevelopment scheme ideally with planning permission and able to demonstrate that it will be delivered to justify the acquisition of the properties.

All of the properties I refer to above were included in the boundary for a proposed residential development of approximately 370 new homes which was granted outline planning consent in November 2017. The scheme (known as Bridgewater Business Park) comprised a wider area extending from St Helens Road eastwards, including all the industrial premises within the business park. This would have transformed this frontage and the approach into Leigh town centre. However, the Council is aware that the financial viability of the scheme was an issue and due to wider challenges within the property market it is now unlikely that the scheme will proceed as consented.  However, the Council is progressing discussions on a reduced site area which may include some but not all of the properties along the St Helens Road frontage. Whilst these proposals are progressing, Council officers are working with Councillors through the Believe in Leigh partnership to consider options to improve this part of the town centre, both in the short and longer term.

Question Reference Number 86417

Hi, I moved in my council property on the 19th November 2018. Noticing on signing it had no black bin. My daughter on line asked can I have a black bin delivered. As I had not received one I asked why. And was told I have to pay £35 as that's the new rule. I am nearly 62 years old and never have I heard you have to pay for a council black bin. I am on benefits and can't afford this. In the meantime what do I do with my rubbish? As I’ve got ill health please can you look into this as I am refusing their demands.

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the provision of a black bin at your new home.   

As a council tenant, a black bin should have been provided when you moved into the property.  This is normally arranged by the property inspector. Please accept our apologies that this did not happen. A free replacement bin was arranged and was delivered, along with a green bin you requested, on Thursday 10th January. A supervisor will call at your home on Tuesday 15th January to assess any waste accumulation you may have due to not having a black bin and make the necessary arrangements to have it removed.

Question Reference Number 86418

Why is Atherton having all these houses built here but we get no new roads to cope with all the extra vehicles on the roads but Wigan get new roads and a blank cheque to have what they want. We all pay in to the same pot so why aren’t we over this side of borough getting our fair share? All this section 106 money you get as well, why isn’t it spent in the town where all these houses are getting built? This council is a disgrace how this side of borough is looked after.

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration

It is proposed to accommodate new housing in Atherton to help meet the borough’s housing requirement because there are two extensive areas of land that are safeguarded for new development  in Atherton that are not Green Belt. These are the areas we refer to as South of Atherton and East of Atherton and they were not included in the Green Belt when it was first established in Greater Manchester in 1984. However, even with this land and some smaller sites within the town, Atherton only has around 14% of the total supply of land with potential for housing identified across the borough. Most other areas within the borough are also having to accommodate new housing development.

Two new roads are proposed in Atherton, from Gibfield Park Road to Junction 5 of the M61 at Chequerbent and a road serving the South of Atherton site from Leigh Road, Howe Bridge. When the remaining land to the east of land with planning permission comes forward, it is intended that the new road will extend to Manchester Road, providing a new east-west road link as an alternative to the A577 Mealhouse Lane, Market Street and Hamilton Street. In addition, Atherton has benefitted substantially from the delivery of the guided busway, with four express bus services an hour to/from Manchester at peak times, and services from early morning to late at night.

New roads are being advanced in Wigan – the A49 Diversion, which is under construction and the M58 Link Road, which is committed - but Wigan is the sub-regional town in the borough and around 3 times larger than Atherton. That said, the new roads in Wigan are the first phases of new transport infrastructure from west to east in the borough, to link Junction 26 of the M6 at Orrell to Junction 5 of the M61 of which, clearly, the aforementioned new road from Gibfield Park Road to Junction 5 of the M61 at Chequerbent is a significant part. External funding is being sought to deliver this infrastructure. In addition, proposals to extend rapid bus services west from Atherton to Hindley and potentially Wigan are also being actively pursued with TfGM.

Quite simply, there are no blank cheques. The council has to compete for transport infrastructure funding with the other 9 districts within Greater Manchester and as part of Greater Manchester with other areas nationally. The planned east-west transport infrastructure from Wigan to Atherton/Westhoughton is subject to a major bid to Government for over £100m, in partnership with Bolton Council and supported by the GMCA and TfGM.

Section 106 funding is not paying for the new roads in Wigan or the new roads eastwards to Junction 5 of the M61. The amounts generated by section 106 are relatively small compared to the funding needed for those new roads, and are spread across a number of different priorities for investment, including affordable housing, recreation, education, health facilities, access to public transport and other measures as appropriate. But fundamentally, section 106 funding raised by a development has to be spent in a way that relates directly to that development, in order to help mitigate any adverse impacts of that development on the existing community and location.

Section 106 funding contributions are in the process of being negotiated for development that has recently been resolved to grant at land South of Atherton. So contributions secured in other parts of the borough cannot be spent in Atherton. Furthermore, section 106 money is not received when planning permission is granted, it is received at key stages during the build out of the development, particularly on large schemes. So the full funding is not received until the development is substantially complete, which can take many years.

Question Reference Number 864619

How can you justify the development of Green Belt land north of J25 in Bryn when the town is one of the most polluted in the country, this will add to the life threatening levels of pollution. Are you satisfied that the residents in the area will a lower life expectancy, poorer quality of life, increased traffic congestion in an already bottle-necked area of Wigan, noisier, less green living environment in exchange for increased business rates? In other words we and our children will die earlier because you want more business rates? That is the harsh reality of your decision to put this proposal into the GMSF proposal.

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration

The Council’s justification for the three sites proposed for employment development in the GMSF, including the land at M6 J25, is set out in the Council’s Employment Land Position Statement.

In short, the majority of the borough’s existing employment land supply is too small, too constrained or poorly located and demand for high quality employment sites increasing, there is a real need to take advantage of the borough’s strategic transport assets, including the M6 corridor, to bring forward high quality sites in the right locations. This is fundamental to boosting the borough’s economic profile and enabling Wigan to compete with large scale employment developments that are being progressed in neighbouring districts. In your email you accuse the Council of only promoting this site for employment development in order to increase business rates. However, as clearly demonstrated in our justification for the site, this is not the case with the primary objective being about boosting the economic profile of the borough and creating job opportunities in the Borough.

Further to this, your query specifically relates to concerns about pollution, traffic, and loss of open space as a result of future development at M6 J25.

In terms of pollution and traffic, a strong policy framework is in place to ensure that developments that would have an unacceptable impact are not permitted. As such, any proposed developments on the site will need to be supported by robust evidence to demonstrate this.

Within Greater Manchester, eight local authorities have been directed by DEFRA to identify, what actions they will take to reduce NO2 levels. Wigan is 1 of 2 local authorities who are not required by DEFRA to consider and implement additional measures, as our levels of NO2, as modelled by DEFRA, do not currently exceed the NO2 permitted limits. This demonstrates that Wigan is not one of the most polluted towns in the country as claimed in your email. As an authority, we are already undertaking many actions that either directly or indirectly reduce NO2 levels from vehicle emissions and more information can be found on the Wigan Council website.

In terms of open space, the majority of the land within the proposed allocation at M6 Junction 25 is not currently accessible to the public, with access restricted to public rights of way and bridleways.  Future development will seek to retain or reroute these as appropriate. The proposed allocation also requires the provision of a robust green infrastructure corridor to the north of the site between the employment uses and the residential areas to the north. In addition to safeguarding residential amenity, this will open up the site for wider public access, and provide enhanced walking and cycling opportunities for local residents, including to the Wigan Flashes to the east.  

As you may be aware, the Draft GMSF is currently out for consultation until Monday 18th March 2019. If you wish to submit representations on this version of draft GMSF the opportunity is open until 18th March, if you experience any problems or require further clarification please do not hesitate to contact the Planning Department.

Question Reference Number 864620

Hello In the next few months I will be moving to your borough to the area of Platt Bridge into a new build property, I've watched my new property develop with pride but I have also noticed a lot of litter (by litter I mean anything like crisp packets, plastic bottles and cigarette packets/butts) around the surrounding area specifically a public pathway going past my property. My question:

  • Could I (if I wanted to) clean up the area and dispose of the litter?
  • If I see any damaged council property how do I report it and who do I report it to so it can be repaired? 

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration 

As a new resident to the Wigan area, we welcome you to the Borough. You will hopefully have heard about The Deal, an informal partnership between the Council and all residents of Wigan and Leigh.  A key part of The Deal is how the Council support volunteers, so that together, we can improve the appearance of the borough. In your enquiry, you asked about carrying out litter picks to tackle the issue of litter. The Council’s Street Scene team are responsible for ensuring the streets and parks and clean and well maintained. However, we work closely with residents groups, friends of parks groups and a number of individuals who carry out litter picks in their local area.  When you move to the borough, if this is something you are still interested in, we can signpost you to some of the local community groups that we already work with, or we can provide you with litter picking equipment if you would still like to volunteer. You can contact our Street Scene team.

Also, we encourage residents to get online, so if you set yourself up on My Account and download the Report It app on your mobile phone, you can report a number of issues to the Council including if you have any concerns regarding litter or repairs and the relevant department will get in touch to discuss the issues. If you need to report an urgent/emergency repair please ring 01942 489005.

Question Reference Number 864621

This is a question for each one of the Cabinet members. In November 2018 the Cabinet considered public access at Haigh Hall and specifically in relation to clause Schedule 2, clause 2(B) and decided public access was acceptable via an alternative route. Please, could you tell me on what basis this decision was made given that it contravenes the 2016 deed of variation to the Covenant? How have you been able to add a schedule to a lease that completely contradicts the terms contained within the full body of the lease?

Response from Councillor Nazia Rehman – Portfolio Holder for Resources, Finance and Transformation

In response to your question I am responding on behalf of all the Cabinet members.

Schedule 2 Clause 2(b) of the Lease dated 23rd May 2016 provides that any gate at the northerly access shall be kept open until such time as an alternative access is provided by the leaseholder.  Creating alternative routes is not prohibited in the original Conveyance to the Council from Lord Crawford. The original Conveyance to the Council simply provides for the estate to be used "for such public purpose as may be of general benefit to the neighbouring community and the inhabitants of Wigan." The Deed of Covenant, as agreed with the Crawford Estate, does not alter this provision save by expressly permitting the Hotel development and the ability for the Council to undertake the high ropes, car parking, and adventure golf etc.'

The lease has to be read as a whole and the clauses contained in it do not contradict each other.

Question Reference Number 864622

Thank you for your reply to question 864619. Will you please address the following? In your reply you referred to taking advantage of the borough’s strategic transport assets, including the M6 corridor to bring forward high quality sites in the right locations, but the development at J25 only has a southerly access to the M6. How then will the 24 hour a day logistics lorries gain access to the north of the country? You say that this development will enable Wigan to compete with large scale employment developments that are being progressed in neighbouring districts but how can Wigan compete with these when they clearly have better access to the M6 than there is at J25? Is there a guarantee that north access to the M6 will be built at J25? How many jobs will this create within the Borough - not 1650 as claimed by dB Symmetry!

In terms of pollution and traffic, have dBSymmetry provided you with robust evidence to demonstrate that their proposed development ensures it will not have an unacceptable impact, and what exactly is ‘an unacceptable impact’? Their own ‘Transportation and Access’ planning document, section 6.4 admits there will be ‘adverse significant potential impact’ due to the ‘presence of additional HGV movements and car movements associated with staff/visitors. And just because the NO2 levels are within permitted limits at present does not mean we should accept these levels. The Council has been running a billboard campaign about reducing pollution but so is it acceptable to allow the levels to rise as long as they are within prescribed limits? You should be driving the levels down, removal of green belt does nothing to help. This development will only increase pollution levels so my claim that damage to residents health will occur is still valid and cannot be denied. Indeed dB Symmetry’s ‘Air Quality’ planning document, section 7.4 states that during both the construction and operation phase of their development, it will again have ‘adverse significant impact’ on the air quality and the implementation of the Travel Plan does not mitigate the adverse consequences, how effective the Travel Plan would be is questionable in any case?

Open space whether accessible or not creates a better environment and this environment will be ruined by the addition of logistics warehouses, the ‘robust green infrastructure corridor to the north of the site between the employment uses and the residential areas to the north’ is no substitute for the existing green belt, is nothing more than lip service to a green area and does not safeguard the residential amenity from 12.5m tall warehouses, 24 hour noise and light pollution! The opening up of the area to wider public access, and enhanced walking and cycling opportunities for local residents, including to the Wigan Flashes to the east is admirable but who wants to walk around an area with 8 warehouses? I cannot see any information regarding the Wigan Flashes walkways in the planning documents? Thank you.

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration

Thank you for your query. I note this raises a number of concerns including access, job creation, pollution and loss of open space, which I respond to in turn. I do also need to advise you however that the Council is still actively considering the planning application relating to land at Junction 25, and so I will not be able to give you any indication as to the eventual outcome of that consideration.

In relation to your question about access from the development onto the M6 northbound, although it remains the Council’s aspiration for an all-ways junction to be provided at Junction 25, the current planning application assumes that the junction will remain in its current configuration with no direct access to the M6 northbound. The Council will need to consider whether the application robustly demonstrates that this arrangement is satisfactory.

With regard to the ability of the site to attract investment, in the context of the current planning application this is a commercial matter for the developer.

We note your concerns relating to job creation on the site. Whilst job numbers clearly cannot be forecast with complete precision, you may wish to explore the Government’s Employment Density Matrix set out in Section 4 of its Employment Density Guide. The amount of floor space proposed in the current planning application is 140,000 sq. m.

With regard to pollution and air quality, the planning application will be determined against policies in the adopted development plan, as required by national planning legislation. These are Core Strategy policy CP17 and saved UDP policy EV1B.

Your views relating to the loss of open space are noted. However the Council’s position, as previously stated, is that development in line with the policy will open up the site for wider access and provide improved walking and cycling opportunities for local residents. Reference to improved access to Wigan Flashes is set out in paragraph 11.333 in the Draft Plan (external link).

If you have not already done so I would like to remind you that you can comment on both the current planning application (external link) and the draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (external link).

Question Reference Number 864623

Wigan Council buying the galleries for £8 million pounds and going to be spending millions more on it and spending a fortune on town centre again. I know the money came from Manchester airport why is it Wigan can have this sort of money spent on it and the master plan for Wigan more millions being spent on it same as Leigh having millions spent on it you do know there is other town centres that need investment as well but don’t get anything why don’t you do other town centres first and Wigan last for once.

Response from Councillor David Molyneux – Executive Leader and Portfolio Holder – Economic Development and Regeneration

As you appreciate and acknowledge in your post all town and district centres are facing challenging times due to the changes in shopping habits. This is placing significant pressure on all retailers, forcing them to adapt to these changes and for them to diversify their offer.

Wigan Council is working extremely hard to ensure the long-term sustainability of not just Wigan town centre but the town and district centres within our borough. We know that we need to diversify the offer, so that town centres are not so reliant on retail. There is too much retail space for modern shopping trends so we need to look at other uses for that surplus space. Our recent purchase of the Galleries shopping centre and our investment in Leigh demonstrates our commitment to the redevelopment of our town centres. Wigan Council is working to redefine the offer within the town centres to bring in leisure and cultural facilities, more food and drink establishments, and more employment and office space.

We’re also working with developers to bring more housing into our town centres. Wigan borough, unlike some city centres, has great access to schools, health facilities, public services and green space so we are confident that we can bring more people into our town centres to visit, live and work. HS2 also arrives in the borough from 2026, and whilst some way off, that will bring more people into our town. We continue to work with all our town centre partners and businesses to ensure any support that the Council can offer is provided.

There are no quick fixes I’m afraid and the redevelopment of our towns requires a long-term strategic approach, but please be assured that we are doing everything within our power to ensure the future of our towns. The council have recently published the Strategic Regeneration Framework for Wigan Town Centre and are working on frameworks for both Leigh and our other district centres.

Question Reference Number 864624

Where are the council finding £53.7 million pound to help the homeless and other projects?

Response from Councillor Terence Halliwell – Portfolio Holder for Housing and Welfare

I believe that your question was prompted by a news story in the Wigan Post, dated 11/2/19, stating that Wigan Council were spending £53.7 million to support homeless people. The Post have now printed a correction to this story, clarifying that the correct figure is £5.4 million, over a 5 year period, equalling £1.08million per year.

We apologise for the confusion – a procurement error meant that the incorrect figure was initially published for the tender. This has not hindered the tender process as bidders were able to view the correct figure upon receiving the tender documents. This investment is in longer term settled accommodation for people who have been homeless or rough sleeping to support a longer term recovery. 

Question Reference Number 864625

The line has recently been upgraded in Standish but the route linking to the line from Cat ith Window to Robin Hill / Pepper Lane has been omitted. Please can this section be upgraded too? This route is regularly used by the children going to Standish High but it’s very muddy and impassable when wet. Given there are new houses along this route can the section 106 monies be used to complete the job. As it stands the state of this path prevents people in the Pepper Lane area from getting to use the newly upgraded line.

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration

As you mention, the upgrade to the Standish Mineral Line was funded via Section 106 monies from housing developments within Standish and was completed in 2018. Building on the success of this scheme, we are pleased to confirm that the Council has been successful in a separate funding bid to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund (MCF) to extend the Mineral Line and enhance the surrounding walking and cycling network in Standish. (The MCF is a £160 million fund to deliver cycling and walking infrastructure improvements across Greater Manchester).

The proposed Standish Line extension scheme develops a north to south extension to the Standish Mineral Line, including your suggested route connecting Cat ith Window (Almond Brook Road) to Robin Hill and Pepper Lane. The proposed scheme will also link with Highways England’s current cycle improvement scheme at Junction 27 of the M6, providing the currently missing connection to the west.

The scheme will provide additional and improved sections of on and off-road facilities, creating high quality multi-user routes. It aims to facilitate safe routes for local trips to be undertaken by sustainable modes of transport, providing a viable alternative to the car, when accessing local shops, schools, health services and leisure venues.

We are currently working up the business case that is required for the funding, and will be starting on the detailed designs in the next few months.

We are planning to hold a consultation event in early summer, and this will provide the opportunity for you to see and comment on the draft designs. As soon as we have confirmed the details of the consultation it will be advertised locally, and also on the council’s website.

Question Reference Number 864626

What are the councils specific responsibilities regarding street cleaning and cleaning up of "grot spots" of which there are many in the Leigh and surrounding areas. I moved to Golborne just over 12 months ago but have lived around the Leigh and surrounding area for over 30 years. I personally pick up litter when I can however my local area gets grubbier by the day. Wigan town centre and areas nearer to there appear to have more attention paid to the job of keeping the area clean?

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration 

The Council has a duty to ensure that the land we manage is clean and free of litter under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. 

This legislation requires the Council to do what is reasonably practical to make sure that litter and waste accumulations on Council land are cleared within a reasonable timeframe. In practical terms, the Council’s Streetscene team are responsible for ensuring that the borough’s parks, streets and housing estates are clean, tidy and well maintained. We have a team that work across the borough seven days a week to sweep the streets, empty street bins and remove litter and fly tipping from Council land. 

We ensure that all areas of the Borough are maintained equally, making the best use of the resources we have available. The town centres of both Wigan and Leigh are maintained seven days a week with the same level of resource for each area. We ensure that every street in the borough is litter picked at least once a fortnight and in many cases, this frequency is increased to weekly and sometimes daily depending on how busy the area is. We use mechanical sweeping machines to support the litter picking staff and we aim to sweep every street in the borough on a six weekly cycle. However, some high profile areas are swept on a weekly cycle and again, we make sure this is spread equally between Wigan and Leigh. 

The Council also has enforcement powers, called Community Protections Notices, which we use to ensure that private land owners are complying with their duty to keep their land free of litter and waste accumulation. 

We also have an Environmental Education and Enforcement team who raise awareness to the public of the importance of disposing of litter and waste correctly and also carry out enforcement activity where required.

Finally, as part of The Deal, we work with volunteers and community groups to help us with litter picks and cleaning of grot spot areas to improve the appearance of the borough.

If you would like information about how you could get involved with litter picks such as the Great British Spring Clean campaign, as well as other regular sessions throughout the year, please let me know and we can put you in contact with some of our community volunteer groups.

I hope that this gives you assurance that we strive to keep the borough as clean and tidy as we can in partnership with the residents of the borough.

Question Reference Number 864627

I live in Manor Court Golborne and have noticed that when the flats come empty they are fitted with new kitchens etc, other areas have had new doors fitted. Are there plans to refurbish all the flats on Manor Court or is this only to happen when they come empty please?

Response from Councillor Terence Halliwell – Portfolio Holder for Housing and Welfare 

When properties become empty, a full inspection is completed and a new kitchen or door will only be fitted if the existing kitchen/door are not fit for purpose or are beyond repair. We do wherever possible try to repair existing items and sometimes it may be that a number of kitchen units need to be replaced as opposed to a full new kitchen being required.

The council has a planned works programme to ensure that all council stock is maintained and updated regularly. We are just completing a bathroom replacement programme in all the stock and work is currently underway to prepare a new programme based upon a revised Stock Condition Survey exercise which is about to commence in the borough. This will provide an update of information to allow us to prioritise the Planned Works Programme over the next 5 to 10 years. We will ensure that information on the programme is shared with tenants when this has been completed.

Question Reference Number 864628

I have been told that the council will be putting yellow lines down one side of Anderton Street on Empress Industrial Estate in Higher Ince, to improve access to and from the industrial estate. I have been told that the lines will be painted on the Club side of the road, not the Industrial side. Please could you tell me why the decision has been made to put the yellow lines on that side, when it will allow traffic to park across from the gates and make access for HGV's difficult as it will make the 'swing' narrower? 

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration

The single yellow line has been proposed on the west side of Anderton Street (Industrial Estate side) Ince, following complaints from the council's waste management service. Their primary concern was that the refuse collection vehicles were continually experiencing restricted access to and from the residential properties. This was found to be due to on amount of on street parking that was taking place on both sides of the carriageway. Additionally, in order for the refuse collection teams to be able to complete their duties, the refuse vehicle must reverse into the alleyway at the side of number 61 Anderton Street, Ince in order to both empty the residents bins and also to allow the vehicle to turn around within Anderton Street, Ince in a safe manner.

Before taking the decision to install this type of Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), the council will consult with key stakeholders such as the emergency services and also with those residents or businesses that may be directly affected by the proposal. I can confirm that the consultation process was undertaken for this proposal and having checked their records, both the council’s legal team and the Network Management Group Traffic team can confirm that no objections were submitted. Unfortunately, the consultation period has now closed and on the basis that no objections were received, the decision to implement the TRO has been approved and the single yellow line and associated time plate will be installed in the next six to eight weeks. 

Question Reference Number 864629

The roundabout at greyhound in Leigh is horrendous at night time coming from Warrington we are queuing between half a mile and up to five miles on a bad day and spending up to an hour some nights to get to the roundabout in Leigh I have known about this for over twenty years and Wigan council have done nothing to sort the problem out. If this was in Wigan it would have been sorted out a long time ago. Why can’t we have our roads sorted out on this of the borough for a change instead of always Wigan?

When are Atherton and other town centres going to get their master plans released for their town centres or is it always going to be Wigan and Leigh like it always is.

What is the time scale for the new roads over our side of the borough to get done because Wigan is always first for everything and forget everywhere else. Why couldn’t we have the new roads first and Wigan last for a change, oh forgot that will never happen.

Response from Councillor David Molyneux – Executive Leader and Portfolio Holder – Economic Development and Regeneration

The Council’s Network Management Team is currently assessing the capacity of the Greyhound junction and proposing to improve the approach lanes on Warrington Road on the Leigh side. We are awaiting the results of a detailed traffic survey which will help to finalise this proposal and plan any further work which will help to improve traffic flow at this junction. We are also closely working with our colleagues at Warrington who maintain the southern approach who may then wish to consider improvements of their own, so both boroughs and road users can share the benefits.

Wigan Council has this month launched its new Economic Vision within which a key priority is the transformation of our town and district centres. Diverse and vibrant town and district centres are critical to the economic growth of the borough. To support this the Leader announced an investment fund of £10m to drive investment in our towns, recognising the role that all our town and district centres play.

The Council has been reviewing its approach in relation to town and district centres to ensure that they receive the support they need to thrive. A strategic regeneration framework has recently been produced for Wigan town centre as our primary urban centre, and Leigh is the focus of the Mayoral Town Centre Challenge Fund and has had funding allocated through Believe in Leigh.

We have recognised that we need a consistent approach to supporting our other town and district centres, including Atherton. Whilst a plan has been produced for Atherton it will not be feasible to produce plans for all 15 of our town and district centres so we are developing a framework that:

• Sets out a series of principles to guide investment (such as protecting our heritage, making our centres attractive places in which to spend time, supporting local businesses, providing the right housing offer and promoting walking and cycling, amongst others)

• Identifies strategic priorities in and around each centre (working with Councillors to do so)

• Identifies themes for intervention (including best use of public assets, strategic use of enforcement powers, more effective place management, the role of community and events, business support)

• Identifies a toolkit to drive a more strategic approach to investing in our towns – including identification of the various funding streams available, which will include our own town centre investment fund, but also other funding streams.

The council has recently submitted a joint bid with Bolton Council to the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) which, if approved and taken in conjunction with the A49 and M58 Link Roads which are currently in development, will create a new east-west strategic infrastructure route connecting the M6 motorway at Junction 26 with the M61 at Junction 5 to improve connections to the east of the borough, including North Leigh and Atherton. The bid is currently subject to evaluation and a decision is due later in Summer 2019.

We have also submitted a significant bid to the Mayor’s Challenge Fund which, if approved by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority on 29th March, will see circa £14.5M of cycling and walking improvements delivered for the Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley areas. Our proposals include the provision of bus lanes where possible as well as cycle paths, pedestrian crossings and other public realm improvements, to support journeys by sustainable and public transport modes across the east of the borough.

Question Reference Number 864630

I am concerned about road safety on Kenyon Lane, Lowton. People jump the lights and at least 3-4 cars do this daily especially in the mornings at high speed. Something really has to be done. On Friday somebody did this and nearly went into the side of my vehicle. One other issue is that there really needs to be a safe crossing at the cross roads. It’s nearly impossible to cross without getting close to being ran over. For children walking to Golborne high school from this direction it’s terrifying and even for adults to cross.

The road is very wide and the time to cross is extremely narrow. There are safe crossings all over, but this area is getting more populated and there are new houses due. There really needs to be a safer place to cross this road soon before somebody gets seriously hurt. I witness so much living here and again referring to Kenyon Lane it’s just not safe at all. I am hoping some action is taken before lives.

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration

Thank you for contacting Wigan Council regarding your road safety concerns for Kenyon Lane, Lowton. I have liaised with the Network Management group Traffic Team over the points that you have raised and I would like to advise you as follows.

With regards to the issue of drivers contravening the traffic lights at the Newton Road and Kenyon Lane junction, this is a moving vehicle offence. Unfortunately, Wigan Council do not have the statutory powers to enforce this offence. The responsibility for enforcing this type of offence lies with Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

As such, these types of offences need to be reported to GMP via their new incident on-line reporting system (external link).

The web page is part of GMP’s Operation Considerate that is an ongoing campaign to encourage all road users to show each other consideration. Reporting drivers may lead to prosecution or prompt a police presence in your area.

In terms of your request for the installation of safe crossing points, the council is aware of the lack of this type of pedestrian facility at this junction and this type of highway improvement is being considered as part of the ongoing Golborne and Lowton Infrastructure Plan, which can be viewed on the council’s website.

In addition, I can confirm that the councils Road Safety team recently engaged with a number of schools in Lowton and Golborne through using a ‘Theatre in Education’ performance focusing on road safety, the effects of air pollution and the benefits of walking/cycling. In light of the concerns you have raised the Road Safety team will further engage with Golborne High School to deliver further road safety messages and strengthening the school children’s road safety awareness.

Question Reference Number 864631

Along with most of the country I have watched the BBC programme about plastic in the UK and am appalled by what it has shown. I have two questions:

1) Where exactly does our re-cycled plastic get sent to once it is bundled and why has Wigan Council chosen to send it there?

2) What lobbying powers do you have as Councillors ( via our MPs) to put pressure on our supermarkets to reduce single use plastics? And what are you doing about this? 

Response from Councillor Carl Sweeney – Portfolio Holder for Planning and Environmental Services 

Firstly, our brown bin material including the plastic bottles and tubs, is taken to a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Greater Manchester. At this facility the glass bottles, glass jars, metal food tins and cans are all separated from the plastic fraction. Around 40 companies are then used to further refine, sort and recycle these materials. The plastics are sent mainly to two facilities. These are Polymer Recycling Facilities (PRF), one based in Skelmersdale, and one in Rochester. A smaller network of companies in the UK is used to deal with certain polymer types. The majority of raw material generated from the plastic is used in the UK. Only a small amount of plastics (around 2%) are exported from the UK with the majority going to European facilities. The reason for choosing this route is that we competitively tendered for this service to be carried out and Viridor was the company that was successful. The evaluation process included around half the marks being given for the technical solution and sustainability. Tenderers needed to provide detailed information on how the material was going to be processed and the destinations of the materials. 

The Resource and Waste Strategy which was released in December 2018 already has many initiatives to reduce the use of single use plastics and ensure that the recycling of these items is more transparent. These include Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) and Extended Packaging Responsibility (EPR). There have already been several consultations that Wigan Council have responded to, to help shape these initiatives and more are scheduled later this year.

Question Reference Number 864632 and 864633

1. Atherton masterplan - when is money going to be made available to make this happen there was money there when Atherton had no masterplan, when they got the masterplan there was no money there so why lie to everyone saying there’s money when there’s not? I thought Wigan Council had £10 million for town centres or is that just for Wigan and Leigh like normal? Town centres are crying out for investment from the Council so why don’t you do up all the town centres apart from Wigan and Leigh for at least ten years.

2. When is Wigan Council going to find out when it has got this funding for the road network to be done and why is it going to take until 2024 for it to finished? Why is Atherton getting done last like normal don’t you think it would be easier to go the link road to the M61 first to start easing the congestion on this side of the borough for once?

Response from Councillor David Molyneux – Executive Leader and Portfolio Holder – Economic Development and Regeneration

There are a number of funding sources that will be used to deliver improvements to Atherton town centre, including, as you reference, the Town Centre Investment Fund, Mayoral Challenge funding, and the Business Booster fund.  

The Town Centre Investment Fund provides funding to support the redevelopment of all our town centres, not just Wigan and Leigh. The objective of the fund is to support schemes in town and district centres that will create new jobs, help people to access those jobs, support new business start-ups and the growth of existing businesses. Often, development is prevented from coming forward due to the high costs of, for example, dealing with contaminated land, or the cost of putting in the infrastructure required. The Town Centre Investment Fund will offer loan funding to encourage development. As loans are repaid the money will be available for re-investment elsewhere in the borough.

We will be delivering a range of environmental and public realm improvements across our town and district centres as part of the Our Town initiative. We will also seek to align this investment alongside funding available at a Greater Manchester level through the Mayors Challenge Fund.

Business Booster funding offers grants of £2,000 to businesses seeking to locate within one of our town or district centres. The grants are offered on a flexible basis and can be used to meet a range of costs associated with starting a new business, including refurbishing a business premises, purchasing equipment or setting up a website. Larger loans of up to £10,000 are also available to support start-up businesses and to help existing businesses to grow.

In relation to funding for the road network, the Council has bid for funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to construct a road linking the M6 with the M61.This is currently with the government awaiting a decision. We are speaking to government agencies about when we expect a funding announcement and understanding that this is expected in autumn 2019.

A delivery programme for this major road project has been submitted along with the funding bid which considers all the work necessary to deliver this new infrastructure. This programme will be reviewed once the funding position is known to ensure that the road is delivered as quickly as possible.

Question Reference Number 864634

Please could you tell me how Wigan Council plan to protect my young children and thousands like them, from infectious diseases caught from dog faeces on pavements and in parks? For example, on a short walk to school in Leigh it is impossible to avoid dog faeces in various states. Regularly it is spread across the whole pavement as it has already been stepped in so is completely unavoidable. The children then take it in to school on their shoes, and pram wheels and wheelchair wheels take it into homes. As I’m sure you are aware, toxocariasis can not only cause blindness and severe illness but once transferred to sand or soil at home or school can live for many months and become a long lasting hazard. As dog fouling appears to be on the increase and certainly not decreasing it must be presumed that current strategies are not working. I have noted suggestions of providing information to the council regarding the time and place of the offence and a description of the dog and owner. As most people are unable to spend time on pavements and in parks waiting to note a defecating dog and its owner do you agree this plan seems to hinge on good luck rather than a sustainable strategy? I am looking forward to hearing your solid plans to reduce the risk to my children and all the children in Wigan Borough. Thank you for your time.

Response from Councillor Paul Prescott – Portfolio Holder for Planning and Environmental Services 

We have recently undertaken a consultation in regard to dog control, including dog fouling, to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs). The Cabinet will be reviewing the current proposals in January 2020 and if accepted, the order will give the Environmental Enforcement team greater powers in tackling dog fouling. Under this order, dog owners will be required at all times to carry a bag to ensure they have the means to pick up after their dog, and if they do not, could face a fine. The order is also looking at powers to exclude dogs from certain areas, such as children’s play areas, and also for dogs to be kept on leads in certain places. The order will, if accepted, see the increase in the fine for dog fouling increase from £50 to £100. As you can appreciate, we do rely on intelligence from residents as this ensures that the Enforcement Officers patrol at relevant times and are more likely to catch those irresponsible dog owners, however we also appreciate that it is not always available. We have recently invested in mobile CCTV equipment to assist in identifying irresponsible dog owners who do not clean up after their dog. However, we do rely on people reporting incidents and individuals on a regular basis so that we have the evidence to be proportionate in the use of CCTV. The reports are also vital in ensuring that Streetscene can respond and ensure the area is cleaned quickly and effectively. I am sure that the introduction of the PSPOs will help us to be more robust in tackling what is a minority of irresponsible dog owners that affects the majority of residents. I trust this update is helpful and reassuring that we are increasing our ability to enforce this unacceptable and very unpleasant environmental crime.

Question Reference Number 864635

I’m enquiring as to when the path is getting resurfaced from Robin Hill Lane to the Lines. It’s getting beyond a joke now with mud down that path. School uniform is getting ruined. My son is going to school daily in wet shoes as they don’t have time to dry, the washer is on constantly and school shoes are ruining quicker then ever. Not to mention my 70 year old neighbours won’t walk down there anymore due to risk off falling, therefore taking their independence away and not giving them full use of the Lines if they need to walk up to Standish, which is the safest and easiest way for them. They have lived here like many on these estates since they wear built and I am shocked you haven’t done leading paths before the actual Lines as these are the people who have paid for the work over the years in the first place and you quite simply haven’t prioritise or looked after them. That is shocking behaviour by yourselves. You I believe, have been awarded the money 6 months ago as it was posted all over Facebook so please give me reasons as why this work hasn’t been carried out as it’s in desperate need. I really hope your not waiting for the housing to finish because if so, then that is going to be years and this needs dealing with now, before someone gets hurt.

Response from Councillor David Molyneux – Executive Leader and Portfolio Holder – Economic Development and Regeneration

Thank you for your enquiry in relation to the existing Robin Hill bridleway. In September 2018, Wigan Council completed the upgrade to the Standish Mineral Line that connects Standish Town Centre to Shevington Moor using Section 106 monies secured through the new housing development sites. During these works additional routes, such as the one you reference connecting Robin Hill Lane, were identified for improvement. In 2018 the Greater Manchester Mayor announced a Challenge Fund (the Mayor’s Challenge Fund, or MCF) which is specifically aimed at funding walking and cycling improvements. I’m pleased to advise that the Council has secured some of this funding to improve paths connecting to the Mineral Line, which includes Robin Hill, and proposals for this are currently in development. Subject to feedback through consultation and approvals, we hope to be able to start the works later in 2020.

We appreciate your interest in this scheme, and trust this response is helpful in answering your enquiry.

© Wigan Council