Demise of problem street in Wigan

The green light has been given for the regeneration of a Wigan cul-de-sac blighted by anti-social behaviour.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 10:51 am
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 11:55 am
Boarded-up homes on Sandalwood Drive

Sandalwood Drive, in Beech Hill, has a long history of problems including vandalism, anti-social behaviour and a lack of demand for the homes.

This has resulted in a high percentage of the 28 houses and flats standing empty for a number of years.

Earlier this month it was the scene of a shooting and has been a magnet for anti-social behaviour and lawlessness.

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A range of options has been considered by Wigan Council to address the issues including the refurbishment and re-letting of the empty homes, with consultation having taken place with residents in the properties and ward councillors.

However, the cost of refurbishment, alongside the likelihood of further problems due to the poor layout of the street has meant that the refurbishment option has been ruled out as it does not represent value for money.

Coun Terry Halliwell, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for housing, has now given the go-ahead for council officers to work with residents to assist them in moving to new homes.

The houses in Sandalwood Drive will then be demolished to make way for a new regeneration scheme. There is an opportunity to incorporate adjacent vacant land into the new development scheme.

A range of options to replace the current houses is being considered which will address housing demand and increase the range of the type of housing that is available in Beech Hill.

One option which is currently being considered is the provision of housing for older people which is in short supply across the borough.

Coun Halliwell said: “We are committed to investing in our communities to improve the lives of all of our residents.

“Sandalwood Drive has suffered from anti-social behaviour and a lack of demand in housing with a high percentage of homes standing empty and being subject to vandalism. The cost of keeping properties in a good condition was high and it has been very difficult to attract new residents to the area.

“We now have an agreed way forward and will be in contact with the residents of Sandalwood Drive to explain fully the next steps.

“The options for the future development of the site will not only address the current social problems the area suffers from but completely transform it into a desirable and attractive residential area.

“We believe this strategy will improve the wider area of Beech Hill ensuring a sustainable, safe community.”

Wigan Council has a £14m new build programme to deliver high quality and innovative homes and help residents lead happier and longer lives.

Tenants will also be able to enjoy another year of rent reduction and should also be reassured that the previous commitment to responsive and programmed repairs is maintained.