No affordable homes in plan for scheme at former school
PLANS for 93 homes on the site of a former Leigh primary school and church have been revealed - though none of them are affordable.
Keepmoat Homes say the houses a mixture of two, three and fourbedroom properties - will bring ‘much-needed new family housing’ to the Higher Folds area.
The vacant five-acre site on Richmond Drive once housed St Gabriel’s RC Primary School, which moved to Higher Folds Community School in 2015, and a church.
But the developer has argued that providing social and affordable rented homes would ‘compromise’ the scheme, which is expected to be completed by 2023 at the latest.
A report submitted to Wigan council says: “We believe that the proposal will create a distinctive community neighbourhood which will tie-in the surrounding neighbourhood.
“The scheme will enhance the character and appearance of the surrounding area to the benefit of the local community and provide prospective residents with first class living accommodation, to provide much-needed new family housing in this part of Leigh.”
Wigan council’s planning policy requires new developments with over 10 houses to provide 25pc affordable housing.
But housebuilders like Keepmoat Homes can submit independent viability reports where it is often argued that they would lose money if forced to provide affordable homes.
The local authority has also been told it will not receive a commuted sum, where developers pay local authorities money instead of building affordable homes.
This money would be of similar value to the build costs and will pay towards affordable housing to be provided on another site elsewhere in the borough.
Talks between Wigan council and Keepmoat Homes regarding affordable provision are ongoing, according to the report.
The developer’s draft proposals were shared amongst ward councillors and residents during a public consultation in September and October.
A total of 15 residents submitted feedback forms, with 13 in favour of seeing the vacant site brought back into use for the benefit of the community.
However concerns were raised about the site only being served by a single road from Kensington Drive, the loss of mature trees and the lack of social rent properties.
The planning application will go before Wigan council’s planning committee next year.
An artist’s impression of the scheme