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New Homes for Wigan
Wednesday 23rd September, 2009

52 new homes for rent are coming to Wigan.

A partnership of Wigan and Leigh Housing, Wigan Council and the Homes and Communities Agency will be bringing new apartments and houses to Scholes.

Supported by the Council, Wigan and Leigh Housing has successfully attracted nearly £3M in grants from the Homes and Communities Agency towards the scheme, on a site at Kay Close where unpopular maisonette blocks formerly stood.

42 apartments for older people and 10 two bedroom houses are being proposed. The properties will be owned by Wigan and Leigh Housing and let in agreement with the council.

Councillor Kevin Anderson, Wigan Council’s Cabinet lead for affordable housing says: “We’ve seen a number of small specialist developments by housing associations in the borough, but this is the first development where the council has contributed capital funding in more than 30 years.”

A recent ‘Meet the Contractor’ event was held in Scholes. Contractor Bardsley Construction is committed to working closely with the local community and is looking at ways to help the local economy through training and local labour. Over the 15 months of construction there will be some 175 jobs provided directly and many more jobs will be protected in the supply chain - for workers in brick factories, window manufacturing and home energy conservation materials.

The new homes will have very low heating costs and are to be located close to town centre amenities, including the upcoming Wigan Life centre currently under construction on the site of the old baths.

Geoff Roberts, Chair of Wigan and Leigh Housing Board explains: “We aim to offer a number of these new homes to existing tenants whose current homes were more suitable before their families grew up and moved away. This will release three and four bedroom houses which can be used to provide homes for some of the many families on the waiting list. So, we get both new homes and make more efficient use of existing housing which is currently under-occupied.”

Councillor Fred Walker, who is the cabinet champion for relations with Wigan and Leigh Housing says: “This is another example of the council and Wigan and Leigh Housing doing something practical for working people to have decent family homes in our Borough. We don’t just talk the talk and there will be more to come.”

The council has recently been successful in securing funds for further new developments in Leigh and Astley.

The news follows the recent announcement of investment of £2.1M environmental improvements to Scholes Village and £7.5M ongoing improvement works to the multi-storey blocks there. Wigan and Leigh Housing is committed to regenerating Scholes Village to complement the Grand Arcade redevelopment and the new Wigan Life centre which includes a new library and leisure facilities due for completion in 2011.

Further projects are proposed, as Cllr Anderson adds: “Changes in Government rules mean that funding to build more new social homes for rent is now available. Both Wigan and Leigh Housing and the council are looking at ways to maximise the partnership opportunities this presents and we are working hard to see more affordable homes built in the borough.”

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