§ Mr. Sackville
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has reached a decision on proposals submitted to his urban housing renewal unit by the Wigan metropolitan borough council; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
I am pleased to announce my favourable response to a proposal for a scheme in Wigan which the metropolitan borough council has worked up in close collaboration with my Department's urban housing renewal unit and the North West Regional Office.
The estate which will benefit from today's decision is the Millers lane estate in Wigan. This rundown and unpopular estate which has voids of 13 per cent., dates from the 1960s, and consists of 665 dwellings. One third of them are traditional low-rise houses; the remainder are one and two-bedroomed flats and family maisonettes above ground floor level.
The council intends to set up a neighbourhood housing office on the estate to provide responsive local management and a locally-based repairs team and to improve tenant involvement. I see this as a vital part of the package which should enable the council to sustain the improvements which we expect to see as a result of the other steps being taken, and am pleased to approve in principle a contribution of £75,000 from the urban programme. A key part of the package is a two-year 589W community refurbishment scheme to enable local unemployed people, funded jointly by my Department's urban programme and the Government's community programme, subject to consideration and support by the Manpower Services Commission's area board, to carry out improvements to the environment and communal areas on their own estate. Resources of the order of £1,964,280 will be involved including £906,566 of urban programme funding, which I am pleased to approve in principle.
I have also agreed to an additional capital allocation of £565,000 from UHRU's targeted housing investment programme resources in 1986–87, to enable the council to re-roof up to 37 blocks of three-storey flat-roofed and to change unsatisfactory heating systems.
This scheme is yet another example of the type of proposals being worked up through the close co-operation between a local authority, my Department's urban housing renewal unit and regional offices. I look forward to seeing these proposals being put into action for the benefit of the residents at Millers lane.