Sheltered home set to close

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FOLLOWING a review of sheltered accommodation in the borough, the council has decided to close one and keep two open.

Walkden House in Bryn and Brackley House in Worsley Mesnes have been reprieved.

But the 10 residents of Atherton House in Atherton will be rehoused and the property, which requires immediate roof repairs costing £750,000 and other internal work, will be demolished with the land banked.

Council chiefs say their decision is part of the auhority’s “ongoing commitment to providing good quality, cost-effective accommodation” which includes investment in both new and upgraded properties.

The 13 residents of Walkden House and 28 residents of Brackley House will now remain in the properties, but further reviews are set to take place taking place periodically, or when major expenditure is required.

Council head of housing and regeneration Peter Layland said: “It is always regrettable to have to move people from their homes and it is not something we undertake lightly, however, there was agreement between all parties that repairing the Atherton House scheme is not feasible, given the extent of works required and the small number of units in the scheme.”

But Atherton independent councillor, Norman Bradbury, who questioned the estimates for the repairs to Atherton House said: “We challenged the cost of the refurbishment during the consultation and especially the quote to replace the roof at £300,000, which we felt was absolutely outrageous.

“We wanted them to go back and get a quote from somebody else which we could consider but they clearly haven’t bothered doing it.”

Coun Ann Rampling, who represents Bryn, said: “I have worked really hard over this and I am really pleased.

“I would like Wigan and Leigh Housing to keep an open mind over the units that are currently empty because these could help people caught out by the Bedroom Tax.

“The staff at Walkden House are amazing, they are so warm that it is a real home from home and it would have been a real tragedy to see it broken up.”

Cabinet member for Housing Coun Chris Ready said: “We are committed to supporting vulnerable people in our communities and will be offering the ten tenants from Atherton House priority housing in the area of their choice and appropriate to their needs.

“We will be fully supporting them with moving and settling into their new homes.

“This will include state-of-the-art specialist housing to provide better accommodation for older people.

“In addition to this, the council works with other Housing Association partners to develop further properties that will cater for older people with care needs.

“There is also an ongoing investment programme to invest in existing sheltered schemes.”