A warm home for winter
So far 185 properties in Leigh and Platt Bridge have been updated with vital home improvements, including external wall insulation, and new doors and windows thanks to Wigan Council.
Households are seeing a reduction in fuel bills of 30 per cent on average each year as a result of the improvements.
David and Alison Hull from Leigh have lived in their end terrace home on Gordon Street for 26 years.
“We used to have a lot of problems with it being cold, you opened the door and it was cold in here for ages. Now you can have the door open for as long as you want and it gets warm in here as soon as you close it.
“We also had a problem with noise, but now it’s a lot quieter and it has muffled the noise from outside.”
The couple had external wall insulation fitted to the front, gable and back of the property, finished off with a new brick effect rendering making the house look more attractive, and new doors and windows.
“We’ve noticed a big difference in energy bills. We went through further measures with the new doors and windows with double glazing and that’s improved it immensely. The insulation is over 4 inches thick, so you can imagine how much heat it retains.
“We don’t need the central heating on as long in the morning. We used to leave it on for ages and now we’re too hot after half an hour!”
And David said even though fuel bills are going down, morale in the area is going up: “The community spirit and morale of the area is lifted. The terraces look far better and no doubt the houses will be resold and residents will be satisfied.”
It’s all been possible through Greater Manchester’s Green Deal Communities programme which won large scale project of the year 2016 at the National Energy Efficiency Awards in September.
75 per cent of the funding for the scheme came from the Government’s Green Deal Communities scheme and Wigan Council funded 25 per cent of it.
Households were given up to £6,000 non-repayable grant for the works and the council topped up the cost by offering an interest free loan scheme. Residents will only pay the money loaned back when they sell the property.
A few doors down from David and Alison, another Gordon Street resident Mr Martin, said: “The benefits have been so good. We’ve had a price reduction in our energy bills from £138 per month to £100 per month. It’s much warmer and the heating is hardly ever on now. The noise is down – it’s much quieter. If someone was thinking about having it done I’d definitely recommend it – it’s worth every penny.”
Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities and housing, said: “This scheme has really made a difference to people’s lives. It is so important we protect the most vulnerable in our society from the cold and rising energy costs. We’ve had some brilliant feedback from homeowners and it’s fantastic to hear community spirit has been lifted.”
The Green Deal Communities scheme was launched in 2014 by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), formerly known as the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), to deliver the largest national domestic energy efficiency retrofit scheme. Over 1,300 households across the region have been improved.
Contributed by Ross Macrae