Retirement homes pledge ‘jumps gun’

Abraham Guest High School site in Orrell
Abraham Guest High School site in Orrell

POTENTIAL neighbours have slammed a council announcement about a bold new pensioner housing scheme as “premature.”

In late March the council issued a public statement that “hundreds” of new purpose-built homes for elderly and disabled residents were to be developed over the next five years.

And the scheme, which had been approved by the council’s cabinet earlier in the month, “will see” 131 new homes built on the former Abraham Guest School site in Orrell .

There are plans for 500 extra care units to be built in the borough over the next five years.

These homes, insist council chiefs, will contribute to meeting the future health and care needs of Wigan Borough’s growing population of older people, while promoting independence, choice and control.

Construction “subject to planning permission will begin” stated the council, this spring and be completed by the end of next year.

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

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

Extra care is a type of specialised housing that provides independence and choice to people with varying care needs.

It allows them to remain in their own home, preventing older people or people with disabilities moving into a residential home or nursing settings when their needs become more complex – which also helps to tackle social isolation and loneliness.

Services will be provided in a purpose-built, high quality housing environment with care and support delivered to meet the individual resident’s needs.

And this type of housing provides a 24-hour on-site support, access to meals, leisure and well being facilities and a safe environment to its residents. It will also provide a base for wider opportunities to the local community such as a range of day time activities and good information and advice services.