Work starts on 200 homes at former soft drinks factory

An artist's impression of the new housing development on North Road, Atherton
An artist's impression of the new housing development on North Road, Atherton

A former soft drinks factory is to be transformed into almost 200 new homes as part of an ambitious £35.5m development.

Preliminary work is already under way at the former Barr site in Atherton after the land was bought by regeneration firm Keepmoat.

“This major regeneration project will create employment and training opportunities throughout the build process so we can put back into the local economy.”

Gareth Roberts, Keepmoat

It is hoped the regeneration of the brownfield site will create scores of construction jobs in the area as well as giving the borough’s economy a multi-million pound boost.

The North Road site will now be turned into a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes with new open spaces and two children’s play areas.

The large development represents Keepmoat’s first housing scheme in the borough and the firm said it is now keen to work with Wigan Council to carry out more regeneration projects.

Gareth Roberts, Keepmoat’s regional managing director for the North West, said: “We very much specialise in providing homes for the first time buyer market and so we’re excited to be bringing our offer to Wigan.

“Our focus is on affordable quality and more than 70 per cent of the homes we sell are to those taking that first step on the ladder.

“Unlike many of our competitors in the region, 95 per cent of our new homes are also built on brownfield sites and so we’re delighted to have established a partnership with Wigan Council that will hopefully allow us to deliver much-needed new homes in the town on surplus land.

“More importantly, this major regeneration project will create employment and training opportunities throughout the build process so we can put back into the local economy.”

Contractors have already started work preparing the site and it is hoped that construction of the first homes will begin later this month.

The new development will be named Cottonfields and Keepmoat wants the community to get involved.

The development firm, working in partnership with the town hall, is asking local schools and colleges to develop some public art which will be displayed around the finished site. The site has been derelict for a number of years since Barr, which is famous for brands such as Irn Bru and Tizer, moved production out of Atherton to its plants in Mansfield and Scotland.

Around 100 jobs were lost in 2006 when the factory, which mainly made cans, was closed.