Leigh masterplan given green light

Leigh, Photo

A long-term vision to drive the regeneration of Leigh has been approved by Wigan Council.

Ruling cabinet members on Thursday endorsed the Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) for Leigh town centre – a key plan which sets out an ambitious and exciting future for the town.

It outlines the roadmap to a new and varied offer that attracts investment, improves experience and provides opportunities for local people and businesses.

Deputy Leader of Wigan Council, Councillor Keith Cunliffe said: “We want Leigh to be a vibrant and attractive place to live, with a reinvigorated town centre which is at the heart of the community.

“It’s a town with rich history and a positive future, which makes it a big part of our growth plans. However, like many towns across the country, Leigh has been affected as people choose to spend money online rather than at high street stores.

“This plan is essential to defining a new future for the town centre and helps us to demonstrate a long-term vision, which is essential when bidding for additional resources, such as the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

“We want to be ambitious for the future of Leigh and drive forward positive change and investment.”

The Leigh SRF has been informed by business and resident responses collated from the Big Listening Project and Deal 2030 surveys.

A consultation held earlier this year to gather the views of local people about the plan received more than 1,700 comments.

The SRF sets out eight key objectives related to environment, homes, movement, people, wellbeing, economy and skills, engagement and empowerment and retail, culture and leisure, as well as the key actions proposed to achieve them

The masterplan highlights several key opportunities and priorities, including:

  • Key development opportunities such the West Bridgewater Street site and sites around the eastern edge of the town around Chapel Street, Brown Street and Gas Street
  • Key opportunities to improve connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists within and around the town centre, including access to the canal.
  • Greenspace and public space improvements including making the town centre greener and more attractive.
  • Creating spaces for businesses to thrive including start-ups and growing businesses
  • Reducing traffic through the town centre and prioritising pedestrians
  • Developing the Civic Square as a vibrant hub for civic and cultural activity.

The Framework is in addition to the £5m Believe in Leigh Fund, which is earmarked to support a range of projects including, new youth provision and improvements at Pennington Park. Already, £1m has been spent on physical improvements to Bradshawgate and better CCTV.

Coun Cunliffe added: “Thank you to those who took part in the consultation and shared their views. It was positive to see that so many share our ambitions. A number of the key issues raised, including tackling ASB and reducing the number of empty shops, have been addressed through the plans.

“Attracting development is critical to delivering our aspirations, and this framework articulates to developers the type and quality of development sought in the town centre and will help to shape emerging proposals.

“Leigh town centre has the potential to become a vibrant heart and focus for the surrounding community. A successful town centre will drive economic prosperity and wellbeing throughout Leigh.”