HOMES will be built on a Birchwood site – which has faced vandalism – through the council’s new housing firms.

The Labour-run authority set up two companies to boost income and deliver 500 properties in the borough over the next six years.

Initial masterplan-related work has started for the first two locations – the former Fox Wood School site in Birchwood, on Chatfield Drive, and the former Sycamore Lane Community Primary School site in Great Sankey.

It is anticipated they will deliver around 150 new homes between them, with other pieces of land expected to be brought forward after construction has commenced.

During this month’s leader’s forum at Birchwood Community High School, residents raised concerns over the Chatfield Drive site being vandalised and damaged.

In response, council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: “It will be demolished. At the moment, that land is being held back for housing development.

“We set up housing companies last year and that is one of the plots of land that is earmarked for the council to deliver housing on.”

The authority confirmed it hopes a public consultation over the proposed development will commence towards the end of the year.

A spokesman said: “The master-planning work is mindful of the site’s ecological value, in particular its large community of hedgehogs.

“The proposed housing will, wherever possible, incorporate features that preserve and assist this ecology.”

Cllr Bowden (LAB –Birchwood) was also pressed on whether the properties would be social housing.

He said: “The only people who are going to make a decision around providing social housing is going to be the council or registered providers.

“We will see what happens. We would look at the demand for social housing.

“Of course, we have to make it a scheme which is financially viable.”

Town Hall chiefs insist they are working with registered providers to ensure the ‘continued delivery’ of social housing – and to make sure demand is met where it is most needed.

The spokesman added: “Outsourcing this role to registered providers, which have access to Government grants and subsidies, is the most effective and cost-efficient means of meeting the borough’s needs for low cost housing for rent or purchase.

“The housing companies will provide new homes, primarily for private open market rent but, in line with council planning policy, 30 per cent of all the new homes will be provided at a significantly discounted rent.

“The rental income will provide the council with a long-term source of finance that can be used to preserve frontline services.”