THE final homes on a housing development described as a "feather in the cap" of Wigan borough have been signed off.

Pennington Wharf, which has been built on the site of the former Bickershaw colliery near Leigh, will boast 471 homes once completed.

Nearly all of the houses – 371 – are currently occupied, with Wigan Council unanimously approving planning permission for a further 29 houses at Plank Lane.

The site of the final phase was earmarked for a pub and a retail store but no businesses were interested – despite an extensive marketing campaign.

Instead, developers Taylor Wimpey proposed to build a four-storey apartment building with 12 two-bedroom flats, a supermarket and a mixture of three and four-bedroom homes.

The council’s planning committee heard that the landowner was in discussions with various retail operators interested in moving into the ground floor of the apartment block.

Leigh Journal:

One of the houses already built at Pennington Wharf. Picture: Taylor Wimpey

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Cllr John Harding, a member of the council’s planning committee, said: “This is a fantastic final phase of what is a really good development.

“It’s a modern development which has good amenities, and it was going to have a pub which would’ve been great to see but the retail building will service all of the properties.”

Cllr Stuart Gerrard added: “It’s an extremely well built development and a feather in the cap of Wigan borough.”

While none of the newly approved houses will be affordable, Wigan Council’s planning committee were told that the wider site will have 94 affordable properties.

This accounts for 20 per cent of the entire development, which still falls shy of the council’s requirement for 25 per cent affordable housing on developments of more than 10 homes.

Developers like Taylor Wimpey can submit independent viability assessments which often argue that building affordable homes would affect their profit margins.

The committee heard that it was "not viable" for the housebuilder to offer any affordable housing in the final phase of Pennington Wharf.

But it was agreed that Taylor Wimpey would pay £33,145 towards the Eastern Trail Walkways at Bickershaw Country Park, and £16,300 to upgrade the Crankwood play area.