Questions and Answers - 2022

Question Reference Number 864667

Can residents put forward questions to ask at full Council? If not, please can you explain the reason for this local decision?

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

No – residents are not permitted to put forward questions to ask at full Council meetings. The Council is not required by law to allow questions to be put forward by residents at full Council meetings, and arrangements for such meetings can be found within the Constitution. This provides that Members are able to raise comments/questions at full Council meetings on any matter that is relevant and relates to the function of the full Council. Residents are able to raise concerns and questions with their local Councillor, who are to understand and represent them where appropriate. The system is in place so as to minimise disruption at meetings.

Question Reference Number 864668

Can you explain to me how can a Wigan Secondary School plan and implement a lesson in the form of a play focusing on the Hillsborough Disaster? The play involved the deaths of those who died and cries & screams etc. were all part of the lesson. It is all well and good for pupils to learn about Hillsborough, and being educated on the disaster, but this is not the right way. The fact that Wigan has a very high proportion of Liverpool fans living in the town and most likely a fair number of survivors should have been recognised as such. The school in question, ST JOHN FISHER RC HIGH SCHOOL really did get to me. I have always embraced the whole ethos of a Catholic education. I was born and raised a Roman Catholic attended both Primary & Secondary Schools, and have been an active and dedicated member of my local Catholic parish. It personally shocked me that a RC school could behave in this way. The fact that there is a very vocal and necessary call for Hillsborough to be placed on the National Curriculum, and that a HILLSBOROUGH DAY being held around the anniversary, has been proposed by Ian Byrne MP the member for West Derby, and that ALL councillors in Liverpool voted unanimously for this proposal speaks volumes. I in turn, have contacted Lancashire County Council who are scheduled to put this to a vote in Chambers. Therefore, I suggest you follow these examples as the best option is for this proposal is adopted nationwide. There is no doubt that this is personal. As both Ian Byrne and myself are survivors of Britain's worst sporting disaster. I also have a background in Education. I completed a degree at the University of Central Lancashire, studying Combined Honours in Education Studies with History. I have also wrote two books on Hillsborough and was a member of two of the groups, HILLSBOROUGH JUSTICE CAMPAIGN and HOPE FOR HILLSBOROUGH. Until my health failed me a few years back, I worked in a number of schools for over 10 years. You can clearly see the breadth of knowledge and expertise that I have at my disposal. I hope for a positive response to this matter. Best Wishes Christopher Whittle Hillsborough Survivor Pen 4 Leppings Lane Author of WITH HOPE IN YOUR HEART and AT THE END OF THE STORM THERE'S A GOLDEN SKY

Response from Councillor Jenny Bullen – Portfolio Holder for Children and Families

Thank you for your recent query. All maintained schools must deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that aligns with the national curriculum. Responsibility for the curriculum rationale, design and implementation in schools lies with school leaders and the Board of Governors.

The Local Authority’s role is to work with the school system to provide support and training for Governors and leaders on a wider range of education matters, including curriculum.    

The school recently released a statement in relation to the lesson, which is outlined below:

A spokesperson for St John Fisher Catholic High School said: “The Hillsborough disaster was a tragedy that left an indelible mark on this country, particularly here in the North West.

Our pupils learn about Hillsborough – and other tragic events , such as the Aberfan mining disaster - as part of a drama project, focussing on how communities came together in response, and have done for a number of years.

Pupils learn about the social and societal context, exploring texts and poems – including The Ballad of Hillsborough - and we ensure this important subject is treated with the utmost respect.

We note that Liverpool City Council recently voted in favour of including Hillsborough in the curriculum for schools and we support this approach.

For information:

  • Pupils are not asked to ‘re-enact’ any of the events and the description of this is not one that we recognise.”

Question Reference Number 864669

Wigan town centre having £135 million plus being spent on new town centre and new roads in Wigan as well - the Council says it’s going to benefit all of the borough. How is spending all that money in Wigan going to benefit Atherton, Tyldesley, Astley and Mosley Common - it’s not going to benefit us on this side of the borough is it,  and what about all the other town centres and district centres that are getting left to rot by Wigan Council. It’s all wrong with it being Wigan all the time getting all the money spent on it. Next question, Mosely Common and Tyldesley are gridlocked every day so when is Wigan Council going to sort out the roads over this side of the borough instead of keep building all the massive housing estates.

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

In relation to your query about investment in Wigan and other centres, you have previously raised similar queries regarding investment in Wigan compared to other town and district centres. I have attached two previous responses which I believe cover the points you raise in terms of the Council’s overall approach to funding the town and district centres (Reference  864650 Questions and Answers - 2020 and 864659 Questions and Answers - 2021). In addition you may be aware that the Council took a decision on 2nd March to allocate £1 million of additional funding to implement a second phase of the “Our Town” programme, aimed at improving the environment in centres across the Borough.

In relation to your points about traffic, congestion is a major issue on Wigan’s roads, which are primarily single carriageway. The strategic connection between the M6 and M61 remains an aspiration within Wigan. Improvements to east-west transport infrastructure are still required to reduce congestion, improve commuter journey times, improve air quality, provide effective road freight routes and ensure that residential and business developments are better connected. 

The scale of the strategic connection requires the individual components of the overall route to be broken down and delivered on a phased basis, starting with the A49 link road, which opened in 2020.  The next phase is the M58 link road, which connects Junction 26 of the M6 / Junction 6 of the M58 to the southern part of Wigan Town Centre via the A49 link road.  Construction is expected to begin in 2022, following planning permission for design changes to the previous consent, with formal opening expected in 2025.

To deliver the complete east-west aspirations, the council has continued to engage with Government on additional funding opportunities.  This included a joint submission with Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council to the Housing Infrastructure Fund in March 2019 to cover the remaining phases including eight sections of new link road from the town centre to the M61.  This bid was unsuccessful however, but the council has been encouraged to continue development of the scheme. This has resulted in the preparation of a bid to the Department for Transport's Large Local Majors programme for a 4.2km portion of the remaining east-west strategic highway requirements, which is at an advanced stage.  The Outline Business Case for this has now been submitted to Government. 

Whilst there is a demand for new road infrastructure, it is recognised that continually increasing highway capacity to meet an ever-growing demand for car travel is not sustainable or, indeed, physically or financially practical.  There needs to be a significant shift towards the more space-efficient modes of walking, cycling  and public transport for as many trips as possible, to make our roads work more efficiently and to accommodate the planned growth in travel on our transport networks.  In this regard the 'Streets for All' strategy, recently approved by the council and the GMCA, is about making our streets easier to get around - and more pleasant to be in - for everyone, while achieving our ambition to significantly increase the number of journeys to be made by walking, cycling and public transport by 2040.  This people-centred approach to street design and road network management is needed to address the challenges that residents face: from not getting enough daily exercise - such as walking and cycling - to poor air quality, and delays due to overcrowded public transport and congested roads.

Some streets need to better fulfil their role as places in which people come together to spend time: this means creating more opportunities for people to sit, relax, play and socialise; more plants and trees and less traffic dominated streets. Other roads, such as motorways and other busy strategic roads, such as the aspirational connection between the M6 and M61, are much more about movement and need to carry vehicles on longer journeys to ensure that the impact of motorised traffic on local streets is minimised.

Improvements in infrastructure and services need to be complemented by behaviour change measures that encourage people to choose active travel for short journeys, including journeys to school, encouraging the use of local stations, promoting sustainable travel in new developments and promoting the use of new transport infrastructure. Initiatives such as the School Street scheme, which prevents parents from picking up and dropping off children outside of the school, is intended to make walking and cycling to school a more attractive option to both parents and children. There is also bus reform to consider, with buses being brought under local control, meaning that buses will be run for passengers, as part of an integrated public transport network; allowing people to change easily between different modes of transport; with simple, affordable price-capped tickets.

Question Reference Number 864670

Will Boris Johnson, Stuart Andrew, B.R.A.C. and N.H.B.C. urgently speak to Pagefield College Wigan. City and Guilds N.V.Q. Brickwork teachers in person about the detrimental ‘vapour barrier / P.I.R. foam board’ building scandal which is a parallel to the Grenfell tower ‘cladding’ scandal. City and Guilds N.V.Q. Brickwork says and always have said that ‘vapour barriers’ and ‘P.I.R. foam boards’ are NOT for cavity walls or plasterboard ceilings; because they do not breathe nowhere near enough and they cause unhygienic dank, over-tepid atmosphere, sweating-wall, smelly living conditions. If Boris Johnson, Stuart Andrew ,B.R.A.C. and N.H.B.C. do not speak up and alert the general public about this, they are in legal trouble.

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

Thank you for your enquiry relating to the concerns you have regarding the compatibility of a vapour barrier and the outer barrier used in PIR insulation. 

In responding to your enquiry I have consulted with the Council’s Building Control Service who comment that unless used and installed in the correct manner, interstitial condensation could occur between those layers that touch in such insulation systems. However, PIR insulations have been specifically designed to be installed in key areas of a development, namely cavity walls, floors and roofs/ceilings of varying type. Many leading manufacturers have developed this material as this type of insulation means that heat can’t pass through readily. Depending on the manufacturer and the intended use of the PIR insulation board, some are faced with foil or a mineral glass coating for example. Compatibility and correct choice of material for each location is key in the use of this type of insulation.

The matters raised in your enquiry can be very specific to a particular development or build, and the Council would expect to review the detail of the construction method proposed as part of the Building Control approval process for a specific scheme; or for an Approved Inspector to do the same should the client opt to use their services rather than the Council’s.

Question Reference Number 864671

Why did the Cabinet vote to join the GM CAZ scheme when Wigan Borough were never originally mandated by the government to do so?

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

Thank you for your recent Ask the Cabinet query in relation to the Clean Air Zones (CAZs). Two detailed responses in relation to the CAZs have already been posted to the Ask the Cabinet page and can be found on Questions and Answers - 2021 - Question Reference Numbers 864665 and 864666.

The responses to both of the queries include information and links to relevant documents pertaining to your query, and I would refer you to the information provided there.

Question Reference Number 864672

The government are currently pushing Places for Growth, moving 22,000 civil servants out of London to work in the regions, including senior roles. What is Wigan doing to attract these jobs?

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

Wigan Council launched ‘We are Wigan’, its ambitious economic vision setting out our growth priorities until 2030. 

The strategic location of the borough and the investment opportunities around our town centres and HS2 offers us a platform to enhance further our economic potential. We are embracing and nurturing new sectors positioning Wigan as a recognised location for low carbon, digital/tech, creative and cultural industries building on our existing strengths in manufacturing and logistics. 

Through our investment prospectus we are able to work with our GM partners MIDAS in promoting the commercial opportunities across Wigan as a place for businesses and government departments to invest and our ambitions around innovation will help in the delivery a quality offer.

A core element of our economic vision is our Employment and Skills Strategy which aims to delivery the skills needed by businesses both now and in the future.

Question Reference Number 864673

Why have Wigan Council totally ignored the proposals to regenerate Leigh Town Centre put forward by Leigh Means Business? Why have you put forward a much reduced regeneration plan and proposal to bid for £10million from the 'levelling up fund' when there is £20 million available? I suspect this is because we have a Conservative MP and you therefore suspect the bid may be successful and 'well, we wouldn't want that now would we??!!' Or do you simply believe that no Town outside of Wigan Town Centre is worth £20 million. Perhaps if you bid for the full amount some of it could be spent clearing Leigh of the detritus that frequents the town centre, the cenotaph gardens and the civic Square.

The same detritus that is holding this town to ransom by its disgusting behaviour which has resulted in the decent people of this town being denied any open air bars and/or restaurants and has made the town centre a no go area night AND day for many decent people.

Any money spent clearing them from our streets would be money very well spent. It would also significantly improve Leigh Town centre, pave the way for regeneration and a whole new culture, improve footfall and encourage investment and undoubtedly have the support of the majority of residents in our town.

I actually saw someone fall off a bench a few weeks ago in the town centre, he was so inebriated. Where are all the police for Leigh Town centre to deter these people and their disgusting behaviour? I cannot recall the last time I saw a police person in Leigh Town centre.

Why have you only allowed a 9 day consultation period on the proposals before submitting this bid? Presumably this is in the hope that not enough people will have time to object before this is sneaked through as a 'done deal'.

Why is money for Wigan Town centre no object whilst for Leigh and other towns in the Borough it is always an issue and we always have to 'reign in' our expectations and aspirations? The amount of council tax pouring into Wigan's coffers from Leigh must be huge and growing, with the number of houses being built here. It would be interesting to see the amount contributed by different towns in the Borough and the proportion of that contribution reinvested in each of those towns.

This bid should be postponed until everyone has had an opportunity to look at both sets of proposals and agree them or otherwise. 

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

I would like to highlight that the Levelling Up Fund is a competitive bidding process being run by government. Local authorities are able to submit applications for funding up to a maximum of £20 million, but applications must satisfy strict eligibility tests and will be assessed against robust criteria to ensure the projects proposed meet a specific need, are deliverable and represent good value for money.

The LUF bid proposed by the Council is based upon the Leigh Town Centre Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) which was adopted by Cabinet in 2021 following extensive engagement with stakeholders and the community. A further consultation exercise was held, specifically on the emerging Levelling Up proposals in March 2022. The recent public consultation was not therefore the only opportunity to comment on or feed into the proposals. The Council is confident that the bid aligns with key concerns and opportunities established through these various consultations.

The Council is aware that Leigh Means Business are promoting a range of projects that they feel will regenerate Leigh town centre. Many of those projects align with the proposals in the Leigh Town Centre Strategic Regeneration Framework and indeed, several are similar to projects that are proposed to be included in the Levelling Up Fund application namely: improving the market; enhancing the Civic Square; and grants to improve shop front and buildings. Other projects promoted by Leigh Means Business, whilst they may have some merit, are not considered to meet either government’s eligibility criteria or assessment criteria for the Levelling Up Fund, and therefore the Council cannot support their inclusion in the application.  

A successful funding bid for Leigh town centre is in the interest of the MP, the Council and most importantly the whole Leigh community. I therefore do not agree with your statement around political allegiances.

I would point out that the Levelling Up Fund can fund capital expenditure only (for example, infrastructure, land and buildings). Unfortunately activities such as litter picking and addressing anti-social behaviour are classified as revenue expenditure and therefore cannot be funded by the Levelling Up Fund. 

I acknowledge your concerns regarding the need to address cleanliness and anti-social behaviour in the town centre. Both issues featured strongly in the feedback we received in recent consultation. The Council is undertaking a series of environmental improvements across the town centre (such as repairing damaged benches and removing fly-tipping). We are also working closely with partners from a range of agencies to address issues such as anti-social behaviour and supporting people with complex needed. However, I must point out that the Council does not have direct responsibility over policing – that rests with Greater Manchester Police.

The proposed Levelling Up Fund application is considered robust – it meets government’s eligibility criteria and will perform strongly against the assessment criteria – therefore it is considered to offer the best approach to secure funding from central government through this particular fund. The Council will continue to work with Leigh Means Business along with other local groups to secure other investment as the opportunity arises and further the regeneration of Leigh.

Question Reference Number 864674

Condition 55 of the approved plans for Galleries25 states: No demolition works within the site hereby permitted shall take place until it has been demonstrated to the written satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority that the necessary financial arrangements are in place and programme of works for the replacement residential development of the land for which planning permission has been granted by the Local Planning Authority. Reason: In order to ensure replacement development is delivered which mitigates the loss of the non-designated heritage assets and impact on designated heritage assets in accordance with Wigan Local Plan Core Strategy Policy CP11, Saved UPD Policy EV4A and the revised NPPF (2021).

Can the Cabinet please explain how the planned demolition can progress as a recent letter from the Council’s Internal Audit team has confirmed that the only contract signed to date, is the demolition contract, which will be wholly funded by the Council? If demolition is permitted to legally progress, what is the rationale behind the above planning condition. Given the current financial climate there could be the risk that the town centre has a large, cleared demolition site. Thanks in advance of your response. 

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

Thank you for your recent Ask the Cabinet query. The Galleries redevelopment project is underway. Wigan Council signed a long-term strategic development agreement with Cityheart Ltd in June 2021 for all phases of the project. This long-term strategic partnership demonstrates our commitment to delivering the scheme. Planning permission for the development was granted in November 2021. Between November 2021 and May 2022 significant preparatory work has been completed on site including surveys, site investigations, utilities and design work. The main phase demolition agreements were signed in July 2022 and site mobilisation is now underway.

Planning condition 55 is a pre-commencement condition and will be discharged before demolition works start on site. The rationale behind the condition is to provide surety to the Local Planning Authority through the planning process that financial arrangements and a planned programme of works is in place for this element of the application.   

Purchasing the Galleries in 2018 has given the Council an opportunity to redevelop an important, under used part of the town centre, creating a more sustainable model for the future. Our defensive retail strategy is crucial for the survival of Wigan town centre and we understand that doing nothing is simply not an option based on current trends. The first phase of the demolition works is expected to take approximately 18 months, with ground and enabling works for new buildings taking place in tandem allowing for the acceleration of delivery. 

The first new building anticipated for completion is the new market hall, which is due to open its doors to the public in 2024. The Council and Cityheart Ltd are committed to delivering the entire Galleries redevelopment as efficiently and effectively as possible to safeguard our town’s future.

Question Reference Number 864675

I see that although the people of Leigh were assured only a short while ago that no more HMOs would be licensed in Leigh Town centre that the former RBS building on Market St has now been given planning permission as a 12 bedroom HMO. The reason this town centre HMO has been allowed despite previous assurances is ' because it is far enough away from other HMOs in the town centre'. The questions I have regarding this are these:

1. How far EXACTLY is 'far enough away' in this context defined and who EXACTLY defined it? Is it 100 yards or 200 yards or 1 mile or 5 miles? How far EXACTLY? Or is it some arbitrary distance decided upon by Wigan Council so that it can line its coffers ( and pay down that £600m debt) with more council tax regardless of the economic and social cost to Leigh Town centre and the people of Leigh? How far EXACTLY, when I believe most of the other HMOs are just around the corner from Market St in Bond St and surrounding streets.

2. Why does it take so long to obtain planning for anything that in any small way improves Leigh Town centre but mere weeks to push this slum development through planning?

3. Has there been any consultation on this with people and businesses in the vicinity who will be detrimentally impacted? This whole thing seems to have been dispatched with great speed and not surprisingly, very much, shall we say 'under the radar'.

4.What process does Wigan Council have in place to regulate this premises once it is up and running to ensure that it remains in safe and habitable condition. Please do not tell me that is the landlords job. Once the tenants are in you won't see them for dust. As long as the housing benefit for the tenants is in their pockets they won't care a flying fig.

5. There is no amenity space attached to the building. Can we therefore expect to see the regular smoking, drinking and fighting that goes on outside the former Magistrates Court, now homeless hostel on Chapel Street Leigh, repeated outside this town centre facility? Please do not try to tell me that the people inhabiting these HMOs in Leigh are hard working decent people. This is Leigh not London or Manchester. I can see how this type of premises provides affordable accommodation in city centres for people in low wage employment. In Leigh many people are in low wage employment yet manage to provide a roof over their own and their families heads without the need for such premises. No - I think we know exactly the type of people these places attract in towns like Leigh, the type of people we are sick and tired of in our town.

6. Assuming the answer to 5 above is 'Yes' (unless of course you are in complete denial about the realities of living around the people who frequent these places) will this anti social behaviour provide yet another excuse to penalise the decent people living in Leigh by prohibiting any open air socialising?

7. Will extra police be provided to mitigate any anti social behaviour and nip it quickly and very firmly in the bud, around these premises - which will be a magnet for all the low life drug dealers currently thriving in Leigh ( probably the only and most lucrative business in this town). The last time I saw a police person in Leigh, Manchester United were nailed on certainties to win the Premier League.

8. The (laughable) levelling up bid for Leigh includes a scheme to improve the Civic Square so that it can become the heart of the town, a civic amenity for the enjoyment of all ? How will that work - with a huge public eyesore doss house opposite ?

9. The large (former cooperative building) on the corner of Albion Street is currently undergoing a substantial refurbishment. Are we, who actually live here as opposed to simply sitting at a desk in Wigan Town Hall in the soon to be regenerated Wigan town centre, allowed to know what the future plan is for that building? Will that secretly and surreptitiously also be licensed as yet another HMO?

10.When are Wigan Council going to introduce a licensing scheme for all private landlords with properties in the Borough? Other Councils nearby are introducing them - Salford certainly are. I can see no reason not to introduce such a scheme, which protects landlords and tenants. The good landlords welcome it and the bad ones are out of town pretty quick ( they've all moved from Salford to Leigh - where no questions are asked). Seriously, Wigan Council must be a greedy absentee slum landlords dream. No questions asked, no regulation or policing, just a quick tatty refurb and as long as the council get their cut by way of council tax/business rates, its anything goes.

I've always believed that Leigh Town centre was earmarked by Wigan Council to be the slumdog centre of the North West. Everything you do just proves me completely right - from the half a levelling up bid to a disregard that borders on contempt for the impact of your poor planning and decisions in respect of our town on the people who live here AND PAY YOUR WAGES. You are exceptionally poor value for money for the people of Leigh. I only wish more of them realised the poor return they get. 

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

Thank you for your enquiry, which from the information provided I understand relates to the approval with conditions of planning application number ‘A/22/93715/CU’ at 7 Market Street, Leigh. The development within the application comprises of the proposed conversion of upper floors of former bank building to a 12 bed house of multiple occupation (HMO) including the renewal of a number of window openings. Full details of the application can be viewed on the Council’s website by using the application number.

Responding to your enquiry, the majority of the answers to the queries being raised can be found within the Planning Case Officer’s report, which can also be viewed on the Council’s website at the address above. The Council’s response to the key issues being raised is as follows.

For your general reference, on the 20 January 2020 an Article 4 direction that removes permitted development rights for changes of use from individual dwellinghouses to small houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) came into effect in Swinley and central Leigh. This means that all HMOs, regardless of size, need planning permission in those two areas. This site is located within the central Leigh location. View further information regarding Article 4 Directions.

In regard to determining a planning application therefore, planning legislation requires planning applications to be determined in accordance with the statutory development plan, or local plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Local Plan Policy CP6 ‘Housing’ supports new residential development within residential areas and encourages the re-use of existing buildings. The policy also seeks to ensure that provision is made for a mixture of house types, sizes, tenures and affordability. The site at 7 Market Street is situated within Leigh Town Centre and is primarily surrounded by a mixture of both commercial and residential properties. Given that the site sits within the Town Centre, and has strong links to both shops and public transport links, it is considered that it is situated within a sustainable and accessible location, with an appropriate level of amenities. Such characteristics allow the proposal to align with the objectives of Local Plan Policy CP6.

In addition, the Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document (“HMO SPD”) is a material consideration in the determination of this application. The SPD was adopted by the Council in March 2022 following public consultation. This document is used as planning guidance to support the decision-making process.

The HMO SPD states that high concentrations of HMOs should be avoided as HMOs typically intensify the use of properties, with more resident and visitor movements than a typical family home, and concentrations of them can impact on the amenity of neighbouring properties and the wider neighbourhood. In order to help retain local character and avoid unacceptable amenity implications for existing residents, the HMO SPD states that the Council will apply three key measures when assessing planning applications of this nature, which are as follows:

  • Concentration threshold
  • The sandwiching of properties
  • Three adjacent HMOs.

In terms of the assessment of the ‘A/22/93715/CU’ planning application in relation to the above factors, the HMO SPD states that planning permission will not normally be granted for new HMOs, or for proposals to extend existing HMOs, where the proportion of HMOs exceeds, or will exceed, 10% of the properties (residential and commercial) within a 50-metre radius of the application property. Notwithstanding the possibility of a HMO situated in the neighbouring property, this proposal would not result in 10% of properties within the 50 metre radius being HMOs, having regard to the assessment criteria within the HMO SPD. There are other HMOs in Leigh Town Centre, however the vast majority are sited approximately 200 metres away to the west (in particular the Railway Road area). There are also HMOs situated to the east (Lord Street, Bond Street and Church Street area), the closest being just over 300 metres away.

The proposed development would not result in the ‘sandwiching’ of a residential property or result in three adjacent HMOs, and complies with the requirements of the SPD in this respect.

Furthermore, in terms of the room sizes, these meet the necessary requirements of the HMO SPD and the provision of communal facilities such as kitchen, dining and living space is shown to be provided to a reasonable level given the size of the HMO proposed.  All the rooms will also have ensuite facilities.

The HMO SPD also sets out a requirement for management plan to be submitted, which in summary will need to demonstrate how the applicant will deal with the management and maintenance of communal areas, demonstrate methods to prohibit potential nuisance, and methods for dealing with waste. This requirement is to be controlled by a condition on the planning permission (condition 3 on the ‘A/22/93715/CU’ Decision Notice which can be viewed on the Council’s website at the above address) and is employed to ensure the possibility of anti-social behaviour and detrimental amenity impacts to surrounding properties is reduced.  Conditions on the planning permission can be enforced by the Local Planning Authority. 

Due to the characteristics of the site being in the Town Centre, it is referenced within the assessment of the planning application that there is little to no outside amenity space within the site. Whilst this might not be acceptable for some sites and developments, given the sustainable and accessible nature of the site, occupants will have the ability to travel with ease to publicly accessible amenity spaces if they wish too. It is also noted that the intensity of the potential comings and goings from the site would be more than a single residential property, however, given the Town Centre setting it is not considered that the development would result in unacceptable amenity implications.

Procedurally, the planning application was publicised in accordance with statutory requirements and the Wigan Council Code of Practice for the Publicity for Planning Applications. No representations on the application were received following this publicity.  Any representations which are received on planning applications are given weight as material considerations in its assessment. Furthermore, it is the Council’s aims to determine all planning application in accordance with statutory timescales, which for an application of this nature is within an 8 week timescale. The determination of the A/22/93715/CU planning application went beyond this 8 week timescale.

It cannot be assumed that the granting of this planning permission will bring anti-social behaviour to the area. The HMO SPD has been produced to better manage the provision of HMOs throughout the borough, improve the standards of the accommodation that is provided and reduce detrimental impacts on neighbouring properties. It will operate in parallel to other regimes, in particular licensing which is discussed below. This application has been assessed to accord with the requirements of the HMO SPD and has been found acceptable. The resourcing deployed to neighbourhood policing within Leigh town Centre is a matter for Greater Manchester Police, and is not a material planning consideration.  In addition, each planning application is assessed on the basis of its own merits, this would include any potential proposals that require planning permission as a result of the levelling up bid for Leigh.  In terms of the proposals for 7 Market Street, Leigh, the visual and design implications of the development have been considered and are documented withing the Case Officer’s report. A thorough assessment has been undertaken against local and national planning policy and guidance in this respect given the site’s location within the Leigh Town Centre Conservation Area. Conditions have been included on the planning permission in relation to window and cycle storage design to ensure the appearance and details of the development are acceptable.

In relation to licensing matters, the licensing schemes available to the Council are area and property based. There are no schemes that specifically require landlords to be licensed. Currently the Council operates a mandatory HMO licensing scheme. The new Private Sector Reform paper, which was issued earlier this year and the plan put forward, will be to have a National Landlord Register which will mean that a Landlord, will have to be registered, and submit all compliance documents for a property before they can rent it out. This will be used by the Local Authorities on a national basis. It is believed this will be implemented early next year and as such, will be used by the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team to aid enforcement. In addition, and as noted above, there are Article 4 areas currently in force in Wigan and Leigh. To seek designation of areas for the other schemes the Council would need to demonstrate that certain areas have particular problems with the types of property in question.

In regard to the building to which is being referred to on the corner of Albion Street, it is assumed that the property in question is 66 - 74 Bradshawgate. Planning permission was granted on August 2022 at this property for the proposed refurbishment of existing retail units, alterations to existing roof, part demolition of the rear elevation and associated external alterations, together with a new shopfront. These works were approved with conditions through planning application number ‘A/20/90339/FULL’ and works are progressing.

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