North Leigh Park regeneration to bring skills boost
Countryside, the leading home builder behind the planned transformation of North Leigh Park, has made a commitment to invest in apprenticeships for local people as the business prepares to commence work on the flagship site.
The pledge comes as Countryside welcomed Wigan Council’s Executive Leader, David Molyneux, to its north west modular panel factory in Warrington where Countryside is currently training two apprentices from Wigan.
The site visit marked a milestone in the planned regeneration of North Leigh Park, where Countryside recently secured planning approval for the first phase of 199 new homes, 87 of which are intended for affordable housing.
To be named Lindley Village, the new development will see Countryside work in close partnership with Wigan Council to create a brand new neighbourhood as well as bringing extensive investment in training and employment for the borough.
Countryside will create an initial ten apprenticeship positions as part of its work at Lindley Village, with a pledge to increase investment in further training over the course of the major ten-year regeneration programme.
Countryside currently employs 12 apprentices across the North West, seven of which are from Wigan and all of whom are intended to work at Lindley Village throughout the development programme.
Launched earlier this year, Countryside’s modular panel factory provides an advanced pre-insulated panel that is delivered to site fully fitted with plasterboard and windows, designed to improve quality, create on-site efficiencies, reduce waste and enhance health and safety.
Wigan resident, Ben Ascroft, has been working for Countryside for six months as an apprentice at the modular panel factory. Of his apprenticeship, Ben commented: “My apprenticeship means that I can learn as I work but it also gives me the chance to learn from those around me. There was so much about house building that I didn’t know before starting with Countryside and I’m finding it very rewarding.”
Ian Kelley, Chief Executive, Countryside Partnerships North, added: “We’re very proud to welcome David Molyneux to our modular panel factory, to open our doors and share insight on the innovative practices that are transforming how we build our homes.
“Embracing modern methods of construction is very important to our business, and we’re proud to do so while upskilling the future workforce. Creating Lindley Village gives us an invaluable opportunity to recruit and train new talent; it is the lifeblood of our industry and it will be extremely rewarding to see the new careers that are shaped in partnership with Wigan Council over the next ten years.”
Leader of Wigan Council, Coun David Molyneux said: “It was very interesting to see the factory and I thank Countryside for inviting me.
“North Leigh park is a key brownfield site allocated in our local plan and regeneration strategy, so it’s fantastic that we have seven young people from the borough working on such a high-profile and transformative project learning modern skills that will serve them well in their careers.
“Without this development, there would be a lot of pressure on our greenbelt, so we will continue to work with Countryside to ensure it suits local need. I sincerely hope the apprentices enjoy working on this development and I am sure they will learn a lot from the professionalism and commitment shown by Countryside.”
Subject to planning, Countryside’s masterplan for Lindley Village will see the developer deliver circa 1,800 new homes, a new district centre, infrastructure and the retention of green open space across the 135-acre site over a 10-year period.