Armed Forces hub on the move

The Armed Forces hub will not be built at Trencherfield Mill but could now be in the town centre
The Armed Forces hub will not be built at Trencherfield Mill but could now be in the town centre

The borough’s yet-to-be-built armed forces hub is on the move and could be housed in Wigan town centre.

Council bosses have been forced into a re-think on the original masterplan for a standalone facility at Trencherfield Mill.

Instead, the local authority is now looking at town centre sites due to financial constraints.

Cabinet members have discussed the updated plans this week although a detailed report has been restricted from public access and will be considered in private.

Next month will mark a year since the ambitious proposals were first unveiled by Wigan Council and the town’s Sea Cadets.

The town hall was said to have earmarked £500,000 for the 4 Our Forces hub along with an extra boost of £400,000 from the Ministry of Defence. And architectural “themes” for the building were said to have included a “poppy flower” design.

Wigan Today understands these plans have now been scaled down.

The move away from Trencherfield Mill means the facility will no longer compliment the redevelopment of the town’s Wigan Pier quarter.

However, with several sites now thought to be under consideration, proximity to the town centre’s transport links - including the revamped bus station - is understood to be a crucial factor.

Last year the council said 20 potential sites from privately owned land and buildings and council owned property were initially considered for the hub’s location which were narrowed down to 12 before Trencherfield Mill emerged as the favourite. The facility is hoped to serve as a central point for armed forces families to access a range of services including advice about housing and employment, education, health and well-being support.

If a new location is approved at this week’s cabinet meeting, a full announcement of the amended plans could be given at the next meeting of the full council on March 1 when the borough’s budget settlement will also be presented.

Coun David Molyneux, deputy leader of Wigan Council said: “We are committed to supporting our armed forces families across the borough and while Trencherfield Mill is no longer an option for the facility, we are still looking at other town centre locations, which we feel will better meet the needs of these particular residents. We will make an official announcement next month.”