Ex-school site homes plan

The former Abraham Guest High School
The former Abraham Guest High School

A COUNCIL-supported pensioner housing scheme on the site of a Wigan secondary school will be discussed by planning officials next week.

The complex, earmarked for the former site of Abraham Guest High on Orrell Road, would contain 131 apartments and bungalows with car parking and landscaping changes.

Abraham Guest High School site in Orrell

Abraham Guest High School site in Orrell

Back in April, when the town hall announced the plans, potential neighbours of the site accused officers of “jumping the gun” prompting them to reiterate that the scheme was subject to planning approval.

Planning documents reveal that 40 letters of objection have been submitted to the council with the site’s impact on privacy, loss of trees and disturbance caused by construction to the site listed as grievances.

However, officers will recommend to members of the planning committee they should approve the scheme, subject to resolving a number of conditions during the meeting.

The planning report also highlights that Wigan’s elderly population has increased markedly in recent years with an increased need for suitable housing facilities.

The number of people aged 65 or over in Wigan has increased by 18.9 per cent (8,165 people) in the period between 2001 and 2011 and over 65s made up 16.2 per cent of the Wigan population in 2011, it states.

It added: “The new building will include a range of facilities that will benefit the wider community in Pemberton and Orrell, including a bistro, communal space for social activities and the potential for local services such as day services, respite care, health surgeries and support groups.”

Helena Partnerships, a housing association that specialise in providing accommodation for elderly people, handed a 125 year ground lease by the town hall to provide a mixture of bungalows, affordable homes and extra care units last year.

The land on which Abraham Guest once stood had attracted attention from private developers and the local authority had sacrificed a potential £2m capital receipt to allow the project to go ahead.

The planning committee meets on Tuesday.