500 homes mega estate plan

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DEVELOPERS today unveiled massive housing plans for a Wigan community.

Landowner Bill Ainscough’s company HIMOR says a scheme for 100 acres between Rectory Lane and parts of Bradley Hall Trading Estate at Standish – answers a Government inspector’s demand for the council to commit more housing land to their Core Strategy.

More than 500 new homes – a fifth of the shortfall identified by the Whitehall inspector during last year’s public inquiry – could be built if eventually approved by councillors.

Builders insist that the housing will be a “small-scale, mixed-use, sustainable urban extension” to Standish village.

And at its heart is a desire to “breathe new life” into the WR Estates-owned Bradley Hall industrial park by investing funds into it which have been generated from the development of existing “redundant and dilapidated areas” of an area that was a munitions site during the war and Heinz’s original home.

This will mean some 20 tenants’ existing businesses in the north of the sprawling site - including Prospect Brewery, Cheetham Coal Merchants along with haulage, engineers and garden centre premises - being flattened after 2014. The majority will be offered alternative industrial accommodation there.

Bosses at Newton-le-Willows-based HIMOR are confirming rumours circulating among some trading estate tenants that they been exploring the possibility of re-developing the “commercially unviable” areas there for the past year.

They say a modernised industrial and trading estate would be a big boost for the borough’s economy.

The developers say they have no immediate plans to submit a planning application for what is called the Barrowcroft scheme but say the plans are being prepared to support the still draft Wigan Core Strategy.

Proposals also include the transfer of Barrowcroft Wood to community use, which HIMOR believe could be an “outstanding community facility.”

Barrowcroft would include the building of 145 affordable homes over a five-year period and would contribute as much as £5m of New Homes Bonus cash to Wigan Council over six years once completed, creating 100 full-time building jobs for a full decade into the process.

They estimate new residents would spend £1.8m in the Standish local economy per year, directly supporting a further 23 full-time equivalent jobs plus a further 80 full-time jobs across Wigan.

Head of Property Paul Wrigglesworth said that their scheme, which will also sweep away a series of wartime munitions bunkers near Rectory Lane - would have the potential to “drive real economic benefits” for Standish.

And he insisted it still has a strong future as an employment zone and HIMOR saw the housing development as safeguarding the estate’s role as Standish’s primary commercial location.

He said: “The buildings within the estate that are coming to the end of their economic life are all in the same area and redevelopment for commercial uses alone simply is not viable.

“Developing this part of the estate for housing will mean that we can improve buildings and attract new tenants elsewhere on the estate.”