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Housing Minister visits Wigan
Wednesday 10th March, 2010

Housing Minister John Healey is set to visit Wigan’s Scholes Village regeneration development (Thursday 11 March).

The minister will see two major projects featuring the new build of 52 homes to let and the refurbishment of six high rise blocks.

His first stop will be the new build development which is being delivered through a partnership between Wigan Council, Wigan and Leigh Housing and the Homes and Communities Agency. The site contains the first new social housing to be built in the town with the help of Council capital contributions for nearly 30 years.

The £5.8m development at Kay Close, Scholes is on the site where unpopular maisonette blocks formerly stood.

Janice Barton, Wigan and Leigh Housing’s Director of Strategy, Policy and Projects, said: “This major scheme is an excellent example of partnership working. It is the first new build development where the council has contributed capital funding in more than 30 years.

“Once complete the new build properties will be owned by Wigan and Leigh Housing and let in agreement with the council. Meeting the demand for affordable housing is one of the most important challenges we face.

Scholes Village is just part of our new build programme, which will see a total of 101 new homes built across the borough over the next 18 months.”

Wayne Bardsley, chairman of Bardsley Construction, said: “We’re one of the leading ‘partnering’ constructors in the North West and delighted to be involved with these outstanding projects.”

“We continue to benefit from our reputation for work for the public sector with an emphasis on partnerships with clients including local authorities, education bodies, housing associations and health authorities.”

The first set of new homes at Kay Close will be available from August 2010.
The Housing Minister will then visit Wigan and Leigh Housing’s £8.6m refurbishment of six high rise blocks at Scholes Village. The works involve internal and external renovation including cladding to improve insulation, replacement UPVC windows and fire prevention upgrades, with 631 flats benefiting.

Wigan and Leigh Housing tenant representatives and leaseholders have played a leading role in the scheme including shaping the programme and selecting the contractors, based on issues they saw as important, such as the external appearance of the blocks, how contactors would deal with vulnerable customers and residents wishes to avoid scaffold erected around their homes.

Tenants and residents also agreed providing employment opportunities for local people was integral to the development. Over half of the 68 on-site workforce is local to Wigan and six apprentices have also been employed by the contractor. In addition all of the 3,830 new UPVC windows and doors used during the high rise refurbishment have been manufactured by Wigan based Metrolite Industries, a council owned workshop for people with disabilities.

The Scholes Village high rise regeneration project has also placed a big emphasis on reducing tenants’ fuel bills and protecting the environment. All of the UPVC and glass from the old windows is recycled. And the anticipated saving on fuel bills is approximately £300 per year.

Carbon emissions for the village are expected to be cut by 1136 tonnes per year as a result of the work, which has helped to attract £217,000 in Carbon Emission Reduction Target grants. Refurbishment work on the six high rise blocks at Scholes Village is due for completion this summer.

Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for Affordable Housing, Cllr Kevin Anderson, says: “We are delighted to welcome Mr Healey to Wigan to see at first hand some of the great work that is taking place as part of the Scholes Regeneration Project. The project is a testament to the borough’s pro-active approach to development and attracting investment for regeneration projects.

“Above all we have listened to the views of communities - our residents and tenants and have acted accordingly. This project is not only bringing much-needed new housing to this important area of central Wigan but is help to support a significant number of jobs in the construction industry.

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