Farmer could be kicked off land his family has lived on for 70 years thanks to M61 and M6 | UK | News


A farmer fears he and his family will be booted off land they’ve lived on for seven decades due to the planned M6 and M61 venture. A man named Brian Lee is left feeling ‘up in the air’ about future road plans that aim to ease the loads of traffic between Wigan and Bolton, a problem for years.

Some farm buildings in Hindley, Wigan where Brian grew up were knocked down in the late 90s after the council made them buy it, yet no road construction has happened since.

The mysterious road that’s meant to link Junction 25 of the M6 with Junction 5 of the M61 at Westhoughton is part of Greater Manchester’s strategy for growth in the next 17 years. The plan is called ‘Places for Everyone’ and it was agreed upon last week on Thursday, March 21.

Now, 58-year-old Brian Lee and his family are unsure of their future because if the road is built, it will run straight through their property and farmland at Haven Lea Farm.

Brian said: “We want to know, one way or the other if we have a future on the land my family has farmed since 1953.” He continued: “We are in limbo over this elusive road.”

He made a plea to the local council: “If there’s not going to be a road, then [the council should] leave us alone and let us get on with our lives. But if there is, come and talk to me.”

Not knowing whether the road will be constructed affects how Brian runs his farm. He shared, “I applied for planning permission for a cowshed, but we only got temporary approval because the land has been earmarked for the road.

“But there’s been talk of such a road between Wigan and Bolton since the Second World War.”

The house where Brian and his family live was constructed next to the location of the farm which was torn down in the 1970s.

A few years ago, the councils of Wigan and Bolton leaned on the Government for money for a £140m link road, however, it was eventually rejected by Westminster despite an initial agreement. This kind of road that would follow the track of the old Wigan-Whelley loop train line is also thought to be crucial for the South of Hindley Development Plan aiming at an area for 2,000 houses.

The exact place for these houses would be a 30-acre piece of land situated at the back of Leigh Road at Hindley Green. According to Wigan council’s website, this type of development would also call for a new road all the way from the A578 Leigh Road to the A58 Liverpool Road.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Hindley ward Councillor Paul Blay showed understanding towards Brian saying: “Yes, he is in limbo.”

“The way I see it, there can’t be a development of 2,000 homes in south Hindley without a link road because Hindley and Hindley Green are clogged up all the time and services are stretched to the limit,” he said. “Hindley Green hasn’t even got a medical centre, so people have to come to Hindley for their treatment.”

During talks about the PfE plan in Wigan, it was agreed that traffic jams between the town and Bolton were a big problem for business growth in the north of Greater Manchester. The Wigan website says: “The ideas for the Wigan-Bolton growth corridor could bring a lot of development to the east of the borough in the future.”

“South of Hindley is a chance to make a new community with shops, offices and industrial and commercial buildings.”

It says a new link road and other improvements would make it easier to get to the M61 and Wigan town centre.

But it also says: “In the long run, the site is limited by not having good enough access to handle the strategic extension of Hindley and depends on a new Wigan-M61 link road.”

David Proctor, who is in charge of planning and regeneration at Wigan council, said: “The Wigan East-West link road scheme and the development of the land South of Hindley are important to Wigan council. We are still committed to making these projects happen and are working closely with partners to do this.”


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