Flats for elderly at former school site

Abraham Guest High School site in Orrell
Abraham Guest High School site in Orrell

DOZENS of flats for older people are set to be built on a Wigan school’s former site.

Council chiefs have held discussions with a local housing association about developing Abraham Guest High School’s former base into “older people’s housing”.

The prime Orrell Road site has been sat gathering moss since the school switched to its new home on Greenhey over Easter in 2010.

Although the remaining rubble – following the demolition of the old school buildings – was removed some time ago, the grass and vegetation at the site is now becoming increasingly overgrown.

But Martin Wright, the head of assets at Wigan Council, confirmed that plans are already in place to transform the site. He said: “We’ve held discussions with a local housing association about developing the site for older people’s housing.

“A bid for funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to support this has been made and a decision is expected within the next month.

“Provided funding can be secured, the proposals will be progressed. Consultation with local residents would be undertaken before any planning application is submitted.

“The scheme could potentially provide around 100 flats for older people plus other facilities that would be available to the rest of the community.”

He added: “There is a need for more homes suited to older people as the population of Wigan borough is aging.

“The aim of the council is to help people live independently in their own homes for longer.

“We believe the site at Abraham Guest would be a good location for this type of development because of its accessibility.”

Abraham Guest’s new £22m site was the first secondary school to be built in Wigan under the multi-million pound Schools for the Future programme.

It boasts improved facilities including a public lending library, performance studio, gymnasium, four-court sports hall and a third generation multi-use games area.

The new building is one of the most eco-friendly in the area, boasting wind turbines for generating electricity and a rainwater capturing facility whose water is used for the toilets.

Two years ago Abraham Guest was successfully accepted as one of the borough’s first academies, functioning independently of the local authority.

Its students now have a different curriculum and helped to design a new uniform.