Chance to reduce bills

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RESIDENTS in Leigh are being offered the chance to cut their energy bills by hundreds of pounds while sprucing up their homes.

Wigan Council is making funding available to help pay for energy efficiency improvement works on houses in four streets in the town centre.

Properties on Glebe Street, Gordon Street, Prescott Street and Selwyn Street, which are all more than 100 years old, have been identified by the town hall as being particularly inefficient and needing to be made greener.

The council will provide around £400,000 of interest-free loans for residents and landlords to apply for government grants to fit external wall installation, replace single-glazed windows with double-glazing and install new energy-efficient doors.

The money provided is being match-funded through the Government’s Green Deal scheme, but as the deadline for applications is September 30 residents looking to benefit will need to move fast.

Leader of Wigan Council and ward councillor Lord Peter Smith said: “Local ward councillors have been looking to bring a big investment into this area for some time.

“We are making the most of a six-month window of opportunity to claim government funding for this work, which will improve the appearance of houses in the area and make them more energy efficient.

“This will reduce fuel bills for the occupants at a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet.

“I urge home owners in the area to work with council officers to progress this scheme as quickly as possible so we can maximise the number of homes that benefit before the Green Deal’s September funding deadline.”

The Victorian character of the area will be preserved with a brick finish on the front of the houses and gable walls, but the council hopes the pilot project will serve as a springboard for regenerating the area.

Leigh MP Andy Burnham also gave his backing to the scheme.

He said: “It’s extremely good news the council has found this money to invest in a scheme that will not only improve the physical appearance of these streets but also save the residents a significant amount of money.

“I’d encourage everyone who lives in the area to get in touch with the council and sign up.”

To find out more, ring Wigan Council’s housing service on 01942 489220.