Death knell sounds for troubled Wigan street
For 18 months the fate of Sandalwood Drive, in Beech Hill, has hung in the balance.
But now councillors look set to begin the process of moving out the last council tenants.
And town hall officials will be authorised to press ahead with negotiations to purchase the last seven private properties in the street.
Once all of the properties in Sandalwood Drive are declared vacant then demolition crews would then move in.
In-depth consultations with residents began in the summer of 2016 when the majority of the homes there were in the hands of Wigan and Leigh Housing.
This process, sparked off in response to increasing reports of anti-social behaviour, has continued after the housing stock transfer back to Wigan Council last year.
Now Coun Terry Halliwell, the borough council’s executive member for housing, is being asked to take a make decision on Sandalwood Drive’s fate
Project manager Laura McBride said in a council decision notice: “There has been consultation in this area previously and negotiations with individual owners and occupiers is ongoing.”
One resident, who moved into the close more than nine years ago and asked not to be named, said: “When we first moved in these houses were mint.“But just take a look at it now. I’d be happy to go.”
Another neighbour added: “I would be glad to see the back of the place, rather than having to look at the state of them all the while.
“Even if you repaired some of them, it would just end up in the same condition in future.”
Coun Phyllis Cullen, who represents Wigan West ward: “We don’t know what will happen yet as the decision is yet to be made.”
The councillor has previously highlighted how the homes had been left vulnerable from the spare land behind the properties.
The former Wigan and Leigh Homes attempted to secure the site but padlocks had been snapped off and youths had run amok.
“There has been a lot of anti-social behaviour in that area, more than in most places for that matter and that is why so many people have moved out,” she added at the time.
When the original consultation was conducted just 13 out of the 30 properties were occupied and the overall figure is thought to be even lower than that now.
Housing bosses have previously stressed that no other part of Beech Hill would be affected, if the demolition of Sandalwood Drive was to go ahead.
Council chiefs say they are committed to investing in local communities blighted by anti-social behaviour.
Marie Bintley, assistant director for growth and housing, said: “Sandalwood Drive has suffered from anti-social behaviour and a lack of demand in housing with a high percentage of our homes standing empty.
“The cost of keeping properties in a good condition was high and it has been very difficult to attract new residents.
“We will be seeking the cabinet’s views on the best way forward and will be in contact with the residents of Sandalwood Drive directly to ensure they are kept fully up to date with any developments.”