Updated: Sunday, 19th November 2017 @ 8:06am

Andy Burnham MP warns HS2 'industrial monstrosity' could destroy precious green space around Wigan

Andy Burnham MP warns HS2 'industrial monstrosity' could destroy precious green space around Wigan

| By April Curtin

Leigh MP Andy Burnham held crunch talks with the head of HS2 to urge him to abandon plans to build a major depot that he says could become an ‘industrial monstrosity’.

Mr Burnham organised face-to-face talks with the head of HS2 rail network plan David Higgins, in an attempt to prevent construction that would affect residents living around Lowton and Golborne.

The project will primarily serve four major cities – London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester – however current plans suggest the installation will also impact rural areas recognised for their scientific and environmental significance. 

Mr Burnham said: “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 is a popular country park and wildlife haven, which – along with many other great family sites – would be affected by the construction of HS2.

"This is not about nimby-ism. Leigh and Lowton people are fair-minded and will always accept their share," Mr Burnham said.

“But this is taking far too much from us. It will shatter our peace and destroy our precious green space.”

Despite its status as Wigan Council’s ‘Green Heart’, and close proximity to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the historic Lightshaw Hall and Byrom Hall, the area has been selected as one of the locations for HS2’s development.

"It's hard to imagine a less appropriate site,” Mr Burnham said.

When consulting local residents earlier this year, Burnham found a near-universal local opposition to the plan – even from supporters of HS2.

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

“I am grateful to him [David Higgins] for giving me a hearing and listening to my concerns.”

Image courtesy of Joshua Veitch-Michaelis, with thanks.