ATHERTON is set to get an affordable homes boost thanks to a new £22million deal between homebuilder Northstone and affordable housing provider Torus.

Plans for the 113-home development off Stothert Street – to be known as ‘Popple’ – were approved by Wigan council last month.

Now, a landmark deal will see all the new homes be classed as affordable and available to rent, thanks in part to funding from Homes England.

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First homes to be ready by autumn

The first energy-efficient homes at Popple are expected to be ready by the autumn.

They will include 33 homes for affordable rent, 12 homes available for social rent, and 68 Rent To Buy properties.

The development 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. 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.

'Really exceptional development'

Leigh Journal: Artist impression of what the new Northstone development could look like off Stothert StreetArtist impression of what the new Northstone development could look like off Stothert Street (Image: Peel L&P)
Coun 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.”

Jo Allen, land and 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 per cent affordable home development that will set a new local benchmark for quality, sustainable rental communities surrounded by green space.

“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."

Greenspace to accompany development

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 square metres of greenspace will be opened, 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.