Affordability, sustainability and more choice put residents' housing needs first

Affordability, sustainability and more choice put residents' housing needs first

Investments in much-needed housing developments, building on key partnerships and wide-ranging home improvements are ensuring the council’s commitment to the right homes, for the right people in the right places is fulfilled.

Over the next year £35.6m will be invested into new housing development and central to Wigan Council’s housing vision is making good on pledges to increase affordability of new homes, improve energy efficiency through installation of greener retrofits and reducing those in crisis through better provision or intervention services.

Councillor Terry Halliwell, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for housing and welfare, said: “Here in Wigan Borough we recognise the importance of everyone having a safe and affordable home that meets their needs.

“We are committed to delivering high quality affordable housing for local people to help them get onto the property ladder so we can ensure they stay longer in homes and invest in their communities.”

Housing developments have been constructed with a number of requirements in mind. These include improving the quality and diversity of Wigan Borough’s residential offer, increasing the affordability of homes and to favour brownfield development over greenfield land

The council continued quest to shift development to brownfield sites has been demonstrated by an exciting scheme in Field Street, Wigan, near Frog Lane with registered partners.

Situated less than a miles walk to Wigan town centre, the site has been empty since the 1970s and comprises of 72 new affordable rented homes in total and takes advantage of underutilised brownfield land.

In 2020/21 Wigan Council delivered 96 homes directly all on brownfield with a further 226 onsite or about to start onsite – all are fossil fuel free low carbon schemes.

Housing bosses are fully aware the economic impact of the pandemic will be felt for a long time to come and are keen to build on relationships with landlords.

All-inclusive management packages have been offered to landlords via the Council’s own Ethical Lettings Agency with a guaranteed monthly income on offer so more people can be led into long term accommodation.

Hard work of the homelessness team and the council’s partners that include The Brick and Real Change Wigan has also been pivotal in securing £728,000 from government in the last year to reduce rough sleeping.

During a count in November 2020, teams recorded eight rough sleepers in the borough.

“The national credibility we have built up through the success of our approach has allowed us to secure significant investments locally,” Coun Halliwell added.

“This investment will help Wigan Council build on the work that has taken place in the borough and go towards funding various projects around reducing rough sleeping, supporting an individual’s recovery journey and improving our private rented sector offer for 20/21.

“With many left furloughed, having hours reduced or even losing their jobs over the last 12 months no one should feel isolated or scared to reach out for help while facing financial pressures.”

Wigan Council has also set ambitious green targets which means making housing sustainable has never been important.  There is a long-term environmental vision to bring all 22,000 council homes up to carbon neutral standards by a move to more renewable energy sources and exploring new technologies.

Wigan Council has been successful in securing funding from Greater Manchester and money has been ringfenced for the installation of 30 air source heating and 150 solar PV systems.

Visit overall housing vision for further information or support.

Posted on Thursday 25th March 2021

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