Work has begun on building 42 new Council homes on Skelmersdale’s Firbeck estate to meet the requirements of modern families.
This will be only the second batch of new West Lancashire Borough Council homes built in the area in nearly 20 years. The last were ones built on Elmstead, Tanhouse, which were completed in 2011.
The new properties will be available for affordable rent and will be made up of 14 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom flats, and 12 two-bedroom and 4 three-bedroom houses. They have been built on land left empty following demolition of unpopular three-storey flats. Some of the homes are likely to be ready for families to move into by spring 2016.
Councillor Jennifer Patterson, portfolio holder for Housing, said: “This is fantastic news for people looking to live in Council or social housing. There is a real need for these homes in West Lancashire and I am delighted that building work has started on what I am sure will be a lovely development.”
The new homes have been built after the Council reached an agreement over funding with the Department for Communities and Local Government in autumn 2014.
Keepmoat is the principle contractor which will build the flats and houses to the Council’s specifications. These have been drawn up working with the builders and Arcus, who provided technical and architectural services on the project.
Representatives from the Council and Keepmoat attended a special groundbreaking ceremony to mark the official start of works.
Frank Mondino, Area Director for Keepmoat North West, commented: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with West Lancashire Borough Council to deliver the new Firbeck estate properties which will provide a range of high quality social housing for local people.”
While the new homes are being built, people who live in the area will face some disruption to footpaths to allow the works to be done. But Council believes that once the works are complete these new houses and flats will enhance the estate and complement the improvements already made under the Revival scheme.
The new homes are part of the £8m Firbeck Revival scheme which forms part of the wider Skelmersdale Town Centre Regeneration Project. Existing Council-owned properties have already benefitted from new kitchens and bathrooms and external works have transformed the appearance of the estate. Houses have been fitted with new roofs, double-glazed uPVC windows and other improvements including external wall insulation and new canopies over the front doors. Fencing has also been replaced on many homes to complete the transformation and ensure security.
All private home owners on Firbeck took up a Council grant (which is repayable when properties are sold) to have some or all of these improvements carried out to their homes.