A low-profile Wigan businessman has become the first local person to make half a billion.
The latest Sunday Times Rich List shows Bill Ainscough and family have seen their wealth more than double in the last year.
In 2015 the Wrightington-based father of four, who is part of the successful Wigan-based Ainscough dynasty, was worth a “mere” £225m which put him in 228th position in the North West’s league table.
A sneak preview of this year’s top 20 reveals that Mr Ainscough, the man behind the famous Wainhomes house-building empire, now stands at joint 17th along with John Hargreaves of Matalan renown whose own wealth has halved in the last 12 months.
Mr Ainscough, whose two other main business interests are property investment enterprises - Highmoor Group and Network Space - is rarely in the limelight.
But along with fellow millionaires Martin Aincough (his cousin) and Dave Whelan - who will no doubt themselves appear further down the list when it is released - he has ploughed a lot of cash into the launch of the Wigan Youth Zone.
The Wigan Evening Post last night approached Mr Ainscough for an interview about his growing fortune but he was unavailable for comment.
But cousin Martin said: “Bill likes to keep a low profile. He is a very, very smart operator and the family is extremely proud of him.”
The Duke of Westminster, the region’s biggest land-owner, again topped the table with £9.35bn.