Police recommend high security at new Wigan Council-proposed apartments for the elderly

An artist's impression of how the Henry Street apartments would look
An artist's impression of how the Henry Street apartments would look

A new care facility has been designed using police advice to protect its elderly residents from "sneak burglaries".


Wigan Council wants to knock down its "ageing" Wharfdale sheltered accommodation in Henry Street, Leigh, and replace it with a modern purpose-built complex of 58 apartments.

But in documents submitted to the town hall, Greater Manchester Police described the area on the edge of the town centre as having high levels of crime and disorder.

There were 576 crimes recorded around Wharfdale in the past year, prompting the force to express security concerns.

GMP advised the council to provide "defensible space" around the building to deter trespassers and reduce the risk of criminal damage.

A crime impact statement reads: “A degree of separation between public and private space can act as a psychological barrier to some offenders, who are then less willing to cross from public to clearly defined private space.”

GMP also recommended that high railings, powered security gates, and CCTV were also included within the council’s plans to prevent unrestricted access onto the property.

All ground floor windows will have key-operated locks and opening restrictors fitted, while apartment and staff office doors will be self-closing and lock securely upon closure.

Care homes rarely generate or attract high levels of crime, according to GMP, though offenders would be more likely to sneak in through unlocked doors or windows rather than forcing entry.

A planning statement submitted by Wigan council says: “The development has been designed to reduce crime through ‘built-in’ security methods including natural surveillance, good lighting and elimination of hiding places.”

Plans include 56 one-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom flats for older people with support needs, as well as communal gardens and parking spaces.

Residents at the existing Wharfdale site have been rehomed after it was found to no longer meet modern care standards.

Coun David Molyneux, leader of Wigan council, said in June: “Providing high-quality housing for all of our residents is a key priority for the council.

“Ultimately having the right home which meets the right needs means people can live longer, happier and healthier lives. These developments are also brilliant at tackling social isolation and can be hubs for the whole community.”

The planning application will be considered by Wigan council’s planning committee in the coming months.