THE borough’s portfolio of social housing is expanding again after the Mayor got work underway on a scheme to build more than 70 new homes.
The development of 10 new properties at Okell Grove in Leigh, which will be finished within six months, is the first stage of a project which will see 72 new properties built, allowing tenants from Wigan Council’s waiting list to finally move into a home of their own.
The two and three-bedroom homes in Leigh are being built by the council in partnership with Wigan and Leigh Housing and meet the “lifetime needs” standards, which means they can be modified to accommodate people who have special needs.
The Mayor of Wigan Coun Myra Whiteside attended a turf-cutting and brick-laying ceremony to mark the beginnning of the construction project, at a time when the question of affordable housing is high on the national political agenda.
She said: “I am delighted to see this expansion of affordable properties. We are able to support people in need and I am proud to be a part of creating a new community in our town.”
The new houses in Okell Grove are being built on the site of a former council sheltered housing scheme, and are part-funded by the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) through its Affordable Homes Programme, which runs until 2015.
In addition to the 72 new homes being provided by the HCA, the council’s housing association partners will build a further 90 homes.
Wigan Council’s head of housing, Peter Layland, said: “This is an excellent extension of the work that the council and our partners have delivered in recent years.
“These homes will be available at affordable rents to people registered on the council housing waiting list and a local lettings policy will apply to ensure a sustainable community is encouraged.”
The building work in Okell Grove, which has been contracted to Seddons, is expected to be complete by February 2013.
In the last two years 235 affordable new houses have been built in the borough; the Council and Wigan and Leigh Partnership providing more than 100 homes while further properties are being built by the Housing Association.