Blueprint for town’s future

Wigan Forward Board members - left to right - Joyce Redfearn, Martin Ainscough, coun David Molyneux and Ian Lenegan
Wigan Forward Board members - left to right - Joyce Redfearn, Martin Ainscough, coun David Molyneux and Ian Lenegan

A BLUEPRINT for the future of Wigan has been created by the town’s top brass.

Business leaders, voluntary sector experts and council chiefs have come up with an Economic Framework to create jobs and provide better education and training for young people.

Members of the Wigan Forward Board launched the framework with the aim of finding and making the most of local talent over the next 14 years.

The report states: “Our vision is clear that by 2026, the borough will have a skilled workforce, have vibrant and attractive towns and local centres, have well connected infrastructure and its location and quality of its environment will make it a great place to live work and do business.”

Wigan Council’s Deputy Leader, Coun David Molyneux, said: “This is an approach developed through strong partnerships including local business taking a leading role with Wigan’s new Forward Board working closely with the council, and working together to make it happen.

“People expect us as a local authority to blow Wigan’s trumpet but to have big businesses doing the same is a great advertisement for the borough.”

The Wigan Forward Board chairman Martin Ainscough said that Wigan still had a lot of work to do to rid itself of the false image to outsiders of “cloth caps, whippets and Coronation Street.”

But he added: “Wigan has an exciting future ahead, and this Economic Framework is our Bible for turning potential into reality.

“It’s about improving our town centres and infrastructure; it’s about giving our young people the best life chances through education, training and experiences; it’s about making the most of Wigan’s green spaces as a visitor attraction.”

Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan added: “What I like about the Wigan Forward Board is that it can get things done. It has clout and it cuts through bureaucracy.”

Wigan Council’s Chief Executive Joyce Redfearn said: “We will help our businesses to achieve a strong competitive edge in an increasingly global economy, by supplying the tools required to raise aspirations, inspire, nurture and retain local talent that will unlock the full economic potential of the borough.”

The document highlights the borough’s plus points, including transport links, the fact that 70 per cent of it is green space and it an enterprising area, being home to around 12,680 businesses.

It reminds readers of its sporting successes, that Wigan is one of the top 100 shopping destinations in the country, and the borough’s long and rich heritage.