Wigan scheme to save potential buyers £10,000 by working on the future home themselves is now looking for volunteers

A former Wigan church which will be transformed into homes with the help of future residents is now looking for volunteers.
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St William’s RC Church in Ince closed in 2017 in a shake-up of Roman Catholic provision and has been vacant since, making it a target for vandals.

Since then Housing People, Building Communities (HPBC) has been granted planning permission to turn the church and presbytery on Ince Green Lane into 27 affordable homes.

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Work is about to start but, in a unique twist for Wigan HPBC will offer a reduction on the price by using buyers’ “sweat equity” towards a deposit.

The former Ince St William's RC ChurchThe former Ince St William's RC Church
The former Ince St William's RC Church
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archive pictures of Wigan mill staff, both at work and heading on holiday with t...

People can help to convert the buildings – and save up to £10,000 on a property.

HPBC’s approach of using 500 hours of sweat equity to reduce the deposit has enabled residents on previous developments to buy.

The homes – which will be completed by contractor Holmpatrick Developments Ltd by October 2024 – allow buyers, their family and friends to use their skills, ranging from labour, painting, decorating and landscaping to admin, marketing and IT support.

An artist's impression of how the church will be modified into housingAn artist's impression of how the church will be modified into housing
An artist's impression of how the church will be modified into housing
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HPBC has won accolades for similar developments in Liverpool, including the conversion of a church into houses and apartments.

Residents bought a share of the property’s value and paid rent for the remainder. They could purchase 30 to 75 per cent, with the option of 100 per cent ownership in future.

The church will be converted into 10 houses/apartments, the presbytery into three apartments and the grounds behind will accommodate 14 three-bedroom houses.

The design will incorporate the architecture of the church, which is an early-20th century red-brick lancet Gothic-style church built in 1911.

The project will be delivered with Prima Housing Group.

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John Ghader, Prima Group’s chief executive, said: “The unique nature of the St William’s project underpins our vision of creating affordable homes and building communities.

"We believe this model may become more popular and will be looking to deliver more schemes in the future.”

HPBC Chief Executive Liza Parry said:

“The church has always been a landmark in the area and the development will help shape a new community, based on shared values and will give a much needed offering for Wigan.

“The residents will be creating a real community by contributing to building their own homes and those of their neighbours.”

Any would-be home-buyers willing to volunteer for a discount are asked to visit the HPBC website https://hpbc.org.uk/. Alteratively contact Liza Parryn on 07817 066084 or email [email protected]

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