Delay triggers design debate

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A unspecified delay to a £1m revamp of Wigan town centre has been welcomed by residents who were sceptical of the plans.

Council bosses announced earlier this week the development of Market Place had been shelved after “feedback from partners and members of the public.”

Works had been due to start later this month on the project which has been blighted by delays since being first unveiled in 2014.

Posting on Wigan Today’s Facebook page, some residents have said they hope the delay turns into a permanent scrapping of the plans, which included creating a plaza more accessible for large scale events.

Mary Lloyd posted: “Glad for once they have taken notice of the public’s comments onthe design and the wisdom of spending that sort of money in the present climate.”

Scott Taylor said: “Use the money to offer free parking in council run car parks to allow town to compete with retail parks.”

The council has assigned a firm to carry out the construction work and had commissioned a landscape artist to create striking street furniture and art, such as metal beacons harking back to when tramlines ran through the town centre.

Wendy Pennington added: “Good, let’s hope those ugly rusty totem poles are gone for good. Would be nice to have some trees in the Market Place instead. Much nicer to look at.”

The redevelopment of the town’s bus station - with construction work starting later this year - is still on track, the council has said.

And the delay announcement for Market Place follows days after new GM mayor Andy Burnham said a development plan would focus on regenerating town centres across the region.