Housing schemes gather momentum ahead of opening date

Aerial view of housing estate

A pair of Wigan Council projects providing much-needed affordable and specialist homes for borough residents are taking shape.

The local authority is investing £19m into the new builds at Sandalwood Drive in Beech Hill and Meadowvale Drive, Pemberton, with additional funding from Homes England.All of the properties will be available for affordable rent and are being built to high environmental standards, helping residents to keep their energy bills as low as possible.Both are expected to be completed within the next 12 months.

Councillor David Molyneux MBE, Leader of Wigan Council, said: “It was a pleasure to visit these sites and see the progress that has been made so far in the delivery of these fantastic new communities.“A real focus has been placed on the future; ensuring we enable residents to live sustainably, keeping energy bills low, which we know is such a priority for people at the moment, and with provision for adaptations to be installed in future years.“The progress has been great to see, and I look forward to these communities being complete and residents moving in, and making these houses their homes.”

At Sandalwood Drive, 69 homes are being built on a previously under-utilised site following the demolition of a number of homes. They are scheduled for completion in spring 2023.With a need for specialist housing for older people, a 51-unit extra care scheme is being built for over 55s with communal space including a lounge and extensive garden.These homes are being built with the future in mind, with provision for adaptions to be easily installed as residents’ needs change.In addition, 18 bungalows are being built, which will provide much-needed accommodation for older people in this area.

This is one of the first developments in the borough with ground source heat pump technology, which will provide a low carbon heating system for the extra care units, alongside electric vehicle charging points and solar panels.

On the site of the former Pemberton Primary School play field, the Meadowvale scheme includes 23 homes and a supported housing scheme for nine adults with complex health needs.It is expected this project will be complete in autumn 2022.This site has air source heat pump technology for all properties, which means the properties do not need to use gas for heating and it is lower carbon than traditional heating. The homes have been built to enable solar panels to be easily added and there are electric vehicle charging points on all properties.

Charlotte Cordingley, Director of Housing and Property, Infrastructure and Environment, added: “Beyond building these much-needed homes and specialist housing for local residents to a high standard, the council has worked alongside our contractors Caddick Construction and Wilmott Dixon to ensure local people are employed on site and that the local community benefits from these building works.

At Sandalwood Drive, 20 people of the 50 employed onsite come from within 20 miles of the site. At Meadowvale, 51 per cent of people working there come from within 10 miles of the site.“Wilmott Dixon at Meadowvale Drive have worked with local schools to provide activities at career days, interview experience and coaching for students at risk of falling out of employment or education. They have also provided work experience, work placements for care leavers, created a number of apprenticeships on site, and delivered a full day construction workshop with Wigan Jobcentre.

“Caddick at Sandalwood Drive have also created apprenticeships through the supply chain on the scheme as well as taking on an apprentice engineer directly who is now studying at Wigan College. Work placements are currently being discussed with Wigan Job Centre Plus and the Caddick team is already making plans to support The Brick Food Bank locally with donations and has installed a toy drop off box on site to take in collections in the run up to Christmas.”

“I am delighted that our contractors are able to deliver benefits to the community, while working with the council to build these homes.”