New group for Wigan high risers

Trevor Smith from Wigan Council and The High Risers chairman Brendan Delaney
Trevor Smith from Wigan Council and The High Risers chairman Brendan Delaney

Residents living in the borough’s tower blocks are being given a new voice to raise the unique issues that come from high-rise homes.

The High Risers has been set up to create better working relationships between tenants in the Scholes Village flats and Wigan Council.

The catalyst for the new organisation is the appalling fall-out from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, with the public inquiry currently uncovering the total breakdown in communication and respect between residents and the authorities.

Fortunately the situation in the borough is very different, with the council responding warmly to the group founded by Woodcock House tenants rep Chris Brady.

The High Risers chairman Brendan Delaney said: “I think it’s important to have the kind of togetherness a residents’ association provides. People talk about what it was like decades ago and sadly today many people don’t know their neighbours, even in a tower block with eight families on one level.

“It’s somewhere people can come if they have any issues or just need some advice.

“After Grenfell a lot of people were quite understandably concerned, especially as we were in the middle of cladding works. Hopefully this will be reassuring.

“Some of the things residents in tower blocks experience will not affect people in ground-level buildings, but the group is for anybody in Scholes. If there are issues people have with the tower blocks we will look at that too.”

So far the group has held several meetings to install its committee and has been improving signs and getting more recycling bins.

Other immediate projects include sprucing up the gardens around the blocks.

Following the unveiling of a mural and floral bed outside Woodcock House to World War One hero Thomas Woodcock VC Mr Brady says he would like to see similar displays reflecting the history of the other building names. Long-term plans include installing renewable energy.

Trevor Smith, group manager for programmed works at Wigan Council, said: “We are pleased to be working more closely with our tenants to ensure their views are listened to and can influence decisions. We look forward to working with them.”