Popple, Northstone, p Font Comms

Popple includes more than two acres of green space. Credit: via Font Comms

Torus, Northstone agree £22m affordable housing deal

All 113 homes at the Peel Group housebuilder’s Popple neighbourhood in Atherton will now be affordable and available through social landlord Torus.

Under the deal, Torus acquired the nine-acre site off Stothert Street from Peel. Northstone has been retained to continue with its plans to build the scheme.

The housebuilder had flirted with having Popple be a mix of market and affordable homes when the project was approved by Wigan Council’s planning committee in November last year.

Now the market housing is out the window, with the latest breakdown including 33 affordable rent residences, 12 social rent ones, and 68 rent-to-buy homes.

The houses will be a mixture of one-bed flats and two-to-four-bed houses. Each is constructed to minimise heat loss, with air source heat pumps installed. The scheme will also include EV charging points.

The revised project will still include more than two acres of green space, including grassland to boost biodiversity and new hedges and trees.

Jo Allen, land and partnerships director at Northstone, touched on why it was important that homes in Popple fully embraced affordable tenures.

“There’s no let-up in the housing crisis, with authorities like Wigan needing to diversify their housing mix to meet local demand,” she said.

“It’s fantastic to be partnering with Torus to deliver a 100% affordable home development that will set a new local benchmark for quality, sustainable rental communities surrounded by green space,” she continued. “It’s another example of Northstone’s commitment to its partnerships and our collaborative approach…

“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.”

The all-affordable Popple is being supported through a £6.6m grant from the Homes England Strategic Partnership 2021-2026 programme.

“As the government’s housing and regeneration agency, increasing the supply of quality affordable homes remains one of our key objectives and we are committed to supporting ambitious housebuilders of all sizes to build those homes and communities,” said Homes England senior manager of provider management Kate Collins.

She continued: “As a Homes England Strategic Partner, Torus has committed to delivering new affordable homes via the Affordable Homes Programme 2021-2026. The investment at Popple will provide much-needed, good-quality affordable new homes that the people of Wigan can be proud of.”

Popple marks the second partnership between Northstone and the housing association. The two also agreed a similar deal for Northstone’s Tulach project, also in Wigan, and the Glisk scheme in Ellesmere Port.

Chris Bowen, managing director of Torus, said it was “fantastic” to work with Northstone again.

“We value true collaboration and Popple is the latest in a long line of schemes we have brought forward thanks to key partners such as Wigan Council and Homes England, so I look forward to seeing it become a truly sustainable, affordable community at the heart of Atherton,” he said.

The project team for Popple included Turley, Shape Engineering, Cundalls, and TEP.

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