Florida Farm plan clears its first hurdle

Protestors outside Florida Farm in Haydock
Protestors outside Florida Farm in Haydock
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Councillors have withdrawn their objection to a controversial £150m development on green belt land in Haydock.

Last month Wigan Council’s planning committee decided to object to the plans for Florida Farm North.

MP Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, visits Haydock residents protesting on Liverpool Road

MP Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, visits Haydock residents protesting on Liverpool Road

Council officers had recommended that they did not object, but the committee was concerned about the impact on traffic in the borough.

Councillors on the committee have now withdrawn their objection - providing lorries going to the development do not use the A58 Liverpool Road to access the M6 motorway at junction 24 in Ashton.

At their meeting on Tuesday, the committee resolved: “The committee agrees that Wigan Council withdraw its objection to the application subject to a condition being imposed which requires Wigan Council to be consulted on, and agree to, a HGV routing strategy which requires HGVs travelling to and from the development to not use the A58 to the M6.”

If lorries did use the A58, it would be a breach of the planning condition and enforcement action could be taken.

More than 1,700 people have objected to the proposals for Florida Farm North.

As well as concerns about traffic, they are worried about the impact on wildlife and the loss of green belt land.

Lowton East councillor James Grundy, who spoke at the meeting, said: “I remain to be convinced that the concessions Wigan has extracted are strong enough. Obviously St Helens will now be policing a matter that they said wasn’t really a problem in the first place, which makes me sceptical.”

The planning application seeks permission to erect two commercial buildings at Florida Farm North, which could create 2,500 jobs, along with new access to the A580 East Lancashire Road.

A final decision on the planning application will be made by St Helens Council on a date yet to be confirmed.