Background and business case

Mayfield House Autism Centre, located in Wigan Greater Manchester, is a new 12 bed specialist accommodation centre, providing specialist services and person-centered support for adults across the autism spectrum. Opening in February 2018, it replaced the decommissioned obsolete former 24 bed Pines Hostel for people with learning disabilities, formerly located on the same site.

Discussions with Adult Social Care and representatives of Learning Disability (LD) services were held at an early stage and continued throughout the delivery of the project, to ensure the new service met the future needs of the Client group.

Local residents were consulted in summer 2015 about replacement of The Pines and after this process was completed a planning application was submitted and approved. works commenced in early September 2016.

The £2.1 million project, supported by Homes England funding, involved the construction of twelve individual apartments within one 990m2 centre, with staff accommodation, office space, a range of communal facilities, communal gardens and on site carparking.

Resident’s apartments were designed to Wigan Council’s exacting specification and to standards set in the Autism Design Guide. This included individual kitchens, baths or wet rooms, both one and two bed apartments, each having their own individual garden space for recreation and relaxation.

The facility incorporated a communal laundry, kitchens with recreation area and a sensory room that included touch sensitive walls connected to the air conditioning and interactive games projected to both the walls and floor.

Partners involved

  • Homes England

Programme Costs

Total scheme costs: £2.1 Million

Value of Affordable Homes Programme support for scheme: £605,000

Scheme size – 12 units – Affordable rent


The scheme has provided specialist supported accommodation for adults on the autism spectrum. The scheme was developed in response to a need identified by colleagues in Adult Social Care to accommodate service users in modern accommodation that promotes independence and better meets their individual needs. The business case for the scheme indicated that through providing more appropriate specialist accommodation savings in the region of £300,000 per annum could be made to the Adult Social Care budget along with improved quality of life and outcomes for residents. A case study of one resident, Stephen, is included and illustrates the personal impact of the scheme.

Lessons learnt

Wigan Council had to engineer a complex scheme that had to satisfy both the safety of the end users, whilst at the same time, deliver within budgets and timescales.

Going forward, these will be taken on board for two other Autism Centres currently being constructed by us. For example, we will not install baths, only wet rooms are to be an option. Under floor heating will be installed to all areas, including communal corridors, rather than just individual apartments.

The investment via the Homes England Affordable Homes Programme and Care and Specialist Supported Housing Fund has enabled Wigan Council to deliver a programme of over 400 homes since 2010. As a local authority we have developed a wide range of homes to meet the needs of residents, including a number of specialist housing schemes. Working closely with colleagues in Adult Social Care, we have invested in schemes that contribute to our strategy of re-modelling services for those with long term support needs, enabling them to have more choice and control over their lives, whilst at the same time making savings to social care budgets through delivering services in a more efficient way.

Angela Durkin, Team Leader New Build and Regeneration

I love being able to ride my bike in the garden. My next goal is to go out on my own. I am able to do things that I would never have done living at home. It has been really fun living on my own.

Stephen Hart, aged 17 from Lowton, Wigan Borough, is the first resident to move into a state-of-the-art housing development for adults with autism.

Future Plans

Wigan council, working in partnership with Willmott Dixon Construction and supported by Homes England funding, are currently constructing two further 12 bed Autism Centres in Wigan, which are due for completion in May 2020.