NEW accommodation for homeless people has been given the go-ahead despite neighbours’ concerns over the potential for an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour.

The block of four flats in Atherton will replace the old Warwick Road Stores. 

Residents raised concerned over its proximity to a playground and a school, a planning committee was told.

At a Wigan Town Hall meeting, councillor James Paul Watson read a statement from residents, some of whom were concerned people moving in could be "drug addicts and paedophiles", adding that it was "a great idea, but in the wrong location".

Colleague Coun Laura Flynn said "no one on the sex offender register would be placed anywhere near a primary school". 

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Council worker Mr Grey clarified that this would not be the case as this ‘move on’ accommodation would heavily vet the tenants coming in and that the flats would be managed by the council with support workers and CCTV. 

The homelessness scheme run by the town hall has been in place since 2021.

A connected plan for Ridyard Street in Pemberton, Wigan, has already been given permission – to transform old retail units into an eight-bed accommodation block. 

The two applications from Wigan Council were submitted after bosses identified "a requirement for interim accommodation for the homeless and rough sleepers".

The committee found no problems when it came to planning law and praised the plan, which has seen homelessness in the borough reduce by 70 per cent since 2017, according to council statistics.

Councillors took objection to some residents’ opinions of residents, who labelled potential tenants as "troublemakers" and claimed "Warwick Road would never be the same again".

Coun Gena Merrett said: “I think it is a really positive move to have this accommodation and I am happy with all the checks and balances on this. I think it’s really unfortunate that people immediately think homeless people are aggressive and children and families are at risk. 

“I think we need more of this type of accommodation.”

The proposals were approved unanimously by the committee.