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Burnham For Mayor

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

HS2 Chief pressed to 'listen to Lowton' and drop depot plans

Last week I held face-to-face talks with the head of HS2 David Higgins and urged him to drop plans for a major depot to the north of Lowton and Golborne.

The Government's current proposals site what is a major industrial installation in an area of open countryside recognised for its scientific and environmental significance. When I consulted local residents on HS2 earlier this year, there was near-universal local opposition to the plan - even from supporters of HS2.

I asked David Higgins for a face-to-face meeting as I wanted to convey directly the strength of feeling of my constituents. I am grateful to him for giving me a hearing and listening to my concerns.

This is not about nimby-ism. Leigh and Lowton people are fair-minded and will always accept their share. But this is taking far too much from us. It will shatter our peace and destroy our precious green space.

Surely the preferred location for a facility of this kind should be a brownfield site, not an area designated by Wigan Council as its "Green Heart", bordering a Site of Special Scientific Interest and close to the historic Lightshaw Hall and Byrom Hall. It's hard to imagine a less appropriate site.

If it is ever built, this depot will be an industrial monstrosity looming large over Pennington Flash and the houses of nearby residents. Pennington Flash has become a significant visitor attraction and this would damage its appeal.

I have urged HS2 to listen to Lowton, go back to the drawing board and relocate this facility to a more appropriate site.