Residents asked for their views on the future of Leigh town centre

Leigh, Photo

Residents and businesses are being asked to comment on a long-term plan setting the foundations for the transformation of Leigh town centre.

Next week, Wigan Council will launch a consultation on the new ‘Strategic Regeneration Framework’ for Leigh town centre.

The Framework is a long-term plan for the town setting out the roadmap to a new and varied offer that attracts investment, improves experience and provides opportunities for local people and businesses.

The plan will bolster the projects being delivered as part of the £5m Believe in Leigh fund and will help to secure further funding for the town.

The consultation will run for six weeks from Monday 8 February to Friday 19 March.

Deputy leader of Wigan Council and Leigh East ward councillor, Keith Cunliffe said: “The success of our town centres is a vital priority for both the council and residents and the Covid-19 pandemic has only emphasised this.

“Leigh is excellently placed geographically and has a thriving market hall. 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 plan, which is now essential to evidence when bidding for more resources from government and other funders.”

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

It 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.

Coun Cunliffe added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has only stressed the importance of local town centres and the challenges they face, so ensuring Leigh benefits from a long-term vision is imperative to securing its future.

“We want to know if people think the Framework captures the right opportunities for Leigh, if people agree with the priorities set out and whether they support the proposed actions listed.”

The council will engage with young people to understand their views on who the town centre needs to change to be more attractive for them.

Coun Cunliffe added: “The framework is a realistic blueprint for our aspirations, but it needs to benefit from the input of our future generations.

“We have been engaging with the elected Youth Cabinet and are looking into other opportunities to ensure our local young people can give their views and be part of this work.”

The Framework is 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 increased CCTV.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the consultation process will be conducted online. Community groups will be invited to join virtual meetings over the 6 weeks.

Businesses and residents can read through the Framework in detail and have their say by visiting from 8 February.