Care ‘criminal’ fears quashed

The new care facility will not be home to people with criminal records
The new care facility will not be home to people with criminal records

Wigan Council has issued a strong rebuttal to claims a new care facility will be used to house people with criminal records.

Residents living nearby to the unopened development on Coppull Lane, Swinley, had contacted the Observer with concerns about who would be moving in.

They said the community was concerned the facility would house those with a criminal past, including people with a history of sex offences.

But a council boss has said any fears about the new residents have no basis.

Jo Willmott, assistant director for provider management and market development, said: “Everybody deserves the right to live happy and fulfilled lives in the local community.

“The disabled people who will move into this state-of-the-art housing development have some additional needs and may require support with things like shopping and cooking.

“They will benefit from excellent support to live rich and valued lives within a top quality housing environment developed in partnership with Wigan Council. They will not be people with a history of criminal offences.”

The purpose built facility - currently under construction - will provide two five bedded apartments operated by Hilldale Housing Association.

Earlier this year the town hall revealed plans to replace care centres in Leigh and Golborne with the Swinley site, making savings of £200k for the cash-strapped local authority but placing 19 jobs at risk. A review found the previous two facilities no longer fit for purpose.

A report prepared earlier this year for the ruling cabinet revealed the authority estimates the changes will save £120k in revenue plus a potential £95k through the sale of one of the existing care centres.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “We have heard all sorts about who is going to be moving in and we’ve been looking for an explanation. If it is people with criminal records - as has been suggested - we need to have our questions answered.”

Ms Willmott added: “Wigan Council is committed to meeting the needs and aspirations of disabled people to live successful and happy lives within our local communities while working pro-actively with local residents to resolve potential challenges around issues such as parking.”