Work on a huge housing estate on a former business park in Wigan will start in the summer – though none of the 325 homes will be affordable.
The property investment firm has now sold the 27-acre Ince-and-Makerfield site to Barratt Homes, which has said the scheme will take seven years to build.
An ‘exciting new development’ has now been promised on the site of a colliery and forge, with a mixture of two, three and four-bedroom ‘family’ homes proposed.
Britannia Bridge Primary School and Rose Bridge High School will also receive £380,000 for extra classrooms.
But the funding is being offered in place of affordable housing, with Barratt Homes claiming it would cost them too much.
Low land value, combined with the abnormal costs of redeveloping a brownfield site, has also been blamed for the lack of affordable housing.
Wigan council, which had originally blocked the application before it was allowed on appeal, requires developments of more than 10 homes to provide at least 25pc affordable housing
Planning officers said the development still had merit despite falling short of the council’s policy. However, there is an outside chance that some affordable homes could be built under the agreement between the council and Barratt Homes.
A planning report said: “The council has secured a viability review mechanism for affordable housing with the applicant requiring the applicant to submit updated viability appraisals at two phases in the construction phase.
“Therefore, if sales values in practice are higher than those projected in the current appraisal, and the scheme can viably provide affordable housing, this can then be secured.”
Reserved matters planning permission was granted by the council in January.
The development will see the reopening of a stretch of the Ince Brook that is currently in culvert, as well as the creation of substantial areas of open space and landscaping.
Neil Goodwin, managing director at Barratt Homes Manchester, said: “We are delighted to announce that we are bringing new homes to Wigan in an exciting new development, with works expected to begin this summer.
“We’re thrilled we are able to contribute to the improvements of the community in Wigan and look forward to how the area will progress and be positively impacted during our time on-site.”