business park job plan bid

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UP to 100 jobs could be created by a new business park in Wigan.

An application for a £1m grant from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund has been submitted for both high-tech industrial units and offices plus housing on more than 12 acres of land off Leopold Street, Pemberton.

A council chief today said that the job-spinning project would be a welcome boost to the local economy and that more applications to the same fund should be submitted soon for other projects.

Some of the land in question is what used to be the still unoccupied parts of the old Northern Counties bus factory site and Triangle Valves and one of the aims of the bid is to expand the “Wigan Knowledge Quarter.”

This is currently based around offices and units at the former Pemberton Colliery site and aims to attract white rather than blue collar jobs.

Wigan Council’s deputy leader and regeneration portfolio holder, Coun David Molyneux, said: “Wigan is not exactly the IT capital of the world and yet we are producing a lot of highly qualified people locally who often go elsewhere to pursue their careers.

“In expanding the knowledge quarter we want to increase the availability of high tech jobs locally.

“Wigan is superbly placed for such investment, being on the West Coast Mainline, M6 corridor and midway between Liverpool and Manchester.”

The RGF application has been submitted by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership.

Coun Molyneux said that there have been various sources of funding to apply to over the years but at the moment RGF is the “only game in town.”

Grants from it are expected to go to schemes that make a profit so that the money can eventually be repaid. In the Leopold Street case this is estimated to take two and a half years to achieve.

Coun Molyneux said the money would be used to make the land suitable for building 13 employment units creating up to 97 jobs plus 63 homes. It is hoped that inward investment would cover the remaining estimated cost of £1.4m.

He said he hoped several more schemes would be put forward for Round 2 of RGF.