A developer has called for public consultations on a new £70m Wigan employment park that could create up to 1,500, including around 600 jobs and apprenticeships during construction.
But the proposals by Manchester-based Glenbrook have already met with opposition from local groups fearful of the loss of greenbelt land.
Glenbrook wants to build the scheme on a 40-acre site, Meridian 6 Wigan, which has been allocated for employment use since 2006, and which will act as the extension to South Lancashire Industrial Estate in Ashton in Makerfield. Access would be provided via Bolton Road.
The proposals outline the development which will consist of up to 625,000 sq ft of new industrial space to meet the significant regional demand from small to medium-sized businesses. The scheme will provide an initial investment of £70m.
In addition to the consultation website (www.meridian6.co.uk) a residents’ notice has been distributed via Royal Mail to 656 addresses within the local area.
The notice provides outline details of the proposals, directs residents to the public consultation website and details a project FREEPOST address, email address and telephone number for more information.
Dan Symonds, development manager at Glenbrook, said: “We are bringing this scheme forward at a time when the need to support business and the economy through the creation and retention of jobs in the borough is extremely pressing.
“Already allocated for employment use in Wigan Council’s unitary development plan, Meridian 6 Wigan will build on the success of the well-established South Lancashire Industrial Estate and attract more investment and employment opportunities to the area as well as delivering much needed commercial space for local businesses looking to grow.”
He added: “Based in the North West, Glenbrook is a well-respected developer and we are working closely with Wigan Council to ensure our plans meet the high development standards required.
“The consultation will run for a three-week period and, due to the pandemic, during this time we are offering a wide variety of ways for people to participate and ensure their views and ideas are heard.”
The design team includes AEW Architects, Gerald Eve as planning consultant and civil and structural engineers, SGI.
However, as soon as news leaked of the proposals, local residents mobilised to oppose the scheme.
Keep Ashton Green (KAG) has been formed by resident and Ashton Labour candidate in the May local elections, Danny Fletcher.
He vowed to oppose any loss of greenbelt space, and said a similar proposal to extend South Lancashire Industrial Estate in 2006 was thwarted, linked to concerns over traffic and increased congestion.