WORK starts today on a major investment in Wigan’s town centre environment.
Council environmental planners, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, are set to bring a fresh and attractive street scene to Wallgate – the view which many visitors to Wigan first see as they arrive as they come from the town’s railway stations.
To carry out the work safely, for some of the time there will be a one-way system in place between Queen Street and King Street West allowing traffic to travel northbound into the town centre and motorists are being warned of delays and diversions.
Traffic coming from King Street or King Street West will need to divert via Library Street, Rodney Street, Riverway, Chapel Lane and Caroline Street. The one-way system will last for about 12 weeks.
Council highways officers have met with the emergency services, GMPTE and traders about the changes, as well as undertaking wider public consultation.
And there’s opportunity to learn more, and discuss wider plans for the town’s regeneration, later this week at a special exhibition in the Grand Arcade.
Cabinet champion for regeneration, Coun David Molyneux, says: “This is a welcome ‘spring clean’ for one of our most important streets.
“Last year we were fortunate in our bid for finance and, especially in the current climate, over a million pounds of improvements is an excellent prospect to boost the town’s look and feel.”
Improvements to traffic and transport are at the heart of the scheme, to reflect the intensive daytime and night time activities which centre around Wallgate.
The public are being encouraged to have their say on parking proposals and discussions have already taken place with local Hackney Carriage groups about changes to the taxi ranks on Wallgate, King Street, King Street West and Library Street which will reflect the effects of the night time closure of King Street.
The scheme will also see more public parking spaces on Library Street, improved pedestrian links to the train stations and two new zebra crossings. Council officers are working with property owners to improve a number of the buildings.
Other investment will see a smarter street scene with 3,000 square metres of York Stone paving, plus trees and safer modern lighting.
A local company, NMS, based in Ashton, will be carrying out the works to Wallgate and will be employing people from the local area.
As part of the bidding process to the Heritage Lottery Fund, several sites were identified as priority projects where owners will be encouraged to repair existing properties and to reinstate original features on properties, such as traditional shop fronts, chimneys and other architectural details.
The scheme links in with the wider Saddle Junction improvements, and works to Wallgate will cost around £1.1m, with a contribution of £280,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
To find out more about the next stage of the scheme visit the special exhibition at the Grand Arcade on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and the the council’s weekly roadworks bulletin will carry full details of the road diversions and closures.