Million pound makeover back on track after delay

Wigan town centre renovation - artist's impression
Wigan town centre renovation - artist's impression
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A MILLION pound revamp of Wigan town centre is back on the council’s agenda after a delay, town hall bosses have said.

The redesign of Market Place to make it “fit for the future” at a cost of £1.3m was due to start this year but has been postponed due to a spending review.

Our town centres are central to the economic prosperity of the borough and it is right that we invest in ensuring they are fit for the future

Coun David Molyneux

But deputy leader of Wigan Council, Coun David Molyneux, said the makeover plans had survived the review process and building works will start in 2016.

He told the Observer: “As part of our budget planning process we have conducted a review of all planned major capital spending projects.

“This review has now been completed and the investments in Wigan Market Place and Leigh town centre are very much going ahead.

“Our town centres are central to the economic prosperity of the borough and it is right that we invest in ensuring they are fit for the future.

“This investment will help both town centres remain competitive in the future and will attract more people to shop in them.”

The council is looking to appoint landscape architects before Christmas, with detailed design and public consultation to be carried out in the new year, Coun Molyneux added.

Market Place’s walls and benches will be removed and replaced with a water feature, an open seating area and trees. And the area will be resurfaced to make it easier for the council to stage large public events.

The plans received criticism when they were announced last year for focusing on Wigan town centre instead of satellite towns across the borough.

Leigh town centre is also part of the plans with £900,000 investment tabled for improvements.

Responding to the criticism, Coun Molyneux told the Observer last year: “These are the borough’s biggest towns and we feel offer the best opportunity for seeing a significant return on our investment.

“I appreciate there are issues in other towns in the borough and if we could afford to we would spend similar amounts in all our centres.

“But that’s simply unrealistic at this time given our current financial constraints.”