Plans for the 113-home development off Stothert Street in Atherton — to be known as ‘Popple’ — were approved by Wigan Council last month. Now, a landmark deal will see the new homes be classed as affordable and available to rent, thanks in part to funding from Homes England.
The first energy-efficient homes at Popple are expected to be ready by Autumn 2024. They’ll include 33 homes for affordable rent, 12 homes available for social rent and 68 Rent To Buy properties.
It will also boast excellent sustainability credentials, with the all-electric community set to feature enhanced fabric to minimise heat loss, air source heat pumps and Electric Vehicle chargers.
The deal sees Torus acquire the site from Peel, with Northstone set to build the homes to their high standard. Popple will boast a mix of homes to meet local demand, including one-bed apartments, alongside two-, three- and four-bedroom homes — catering for different people at different stages of life.
Jo Allen, Land & Partnerships Director at Northstone, said: “There’s no let-up in the housing crisis, with authorities like Wigan needing to diversify their housing mix to meet local demand. It’s fantastic to be partnering with Torus to deliver a 100% affordable home development that will set a new local benchmark for quality, sustainable rental communities surrounded by green space. It’s another example of Northstone’s commitment to its partnerships and our collaborative approach.
“Not everyone is in a position to buy and many want the flexibility of renting. Popple will mean those looking for affordable rental homes will have access to the same, high-quality new build homes often only open to those who are buying. It’s been brilliant working with Torus, Homes England and Wigan Council, who have been so proactive about making this community a reality and unlocking investment into new homes for Atherton.”
Torus are set to take on the site as part of their wider new-build development programme, increasing the number of and access to affordable homes across the North West.
Managing Director of Torus Developments, Chris Bowen, commented: “As a housing group, we’re well aware of the current cost-of-living-crisis and how heavily it is impacting our communities and the cost of housing, so our mission to continue building great, affordable homes continues to be as pertinent as ever. We’re thrilled to have received planning permission on Popple and to be bringing another affordable scheme to Wigan.
“It’s fantastic to once again work with Northstone and continue building on the successful partnership that has already seen us deliver 210 homes in Wigan and Ellesmere Port. We value true collaboration and Popple is the latest in a long line of schemes we have brought forward thanks to key partners such as Wigan Council and Homes England, so I look forward to seeing it become a truly sustainable, affordable community at the heart of Atherton.”
Designed to embrace natural features and provide a central green corridor, the new neighbourhood will also link footpaths through the development into existing routes. Around 10,000 sqm of greenspace will be opened for the local community to enjoy, featuring new hedge and tree planting; as well as species-rich grassland.
Delivery of Popple is being supported by £6.6m of grant funding from Homes England Strategic Partnership 2021-26 programme. It’s part of a wider investment strategy from both Northstone and Torus to invest in Wigan and the surrounding area. It’s the second community the pair have collaborated on in the borough in the last 12 months, with affordable homes brought forward at Tulach (the former Pemberton Colliery site) in Wigan.
Wigan Council approved a planning application for the Popple site in November 2023 and has been working with project partners to help meet its local targets for delivery of affordable homes.
Councillor Susan Gambles, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Housing and Welfare at Wigan Council, said: “This is a really exceptional development, of good quality affordable homes that have been thoughtfully designed, making sure the energy source is both sustainable and will keep the bills low.
“It’s a real pleasure to work in partnership with other organisations, like Northstone and Torus who also feel equally as passionate and determined, as we do, to build more quality affordable homes in the borough and be part of the solution in tackling the housing crisis that is being experienced across the country.”
Kate Collins, Senior Manager – Provider Manager, from Homes England, added: “As the Government’s housing and regeneration agency, increasing the supply of quality affordable homes remains one of our key objectives and we are committed to supporting ambitious housebuilders of all sizes to build those homes and communities. As a Homes England Strategic Partner, Torus has committed to delivering new affordable homes via the Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26. The investment at Popple will provide much needed, good quality affordable new homes that the people of Wigan can be proud of.”
Header image: The team from Northstone, Torus and Wigan Council.