Wigan businesses want improvement

Miranda Allan
Miranda Allan

CONGESTION and parking are Wigan firms’ big transport bugbears.

And despite projects to tackle jams, firms still feel that they remain a hindrance to further prosperity.

Miranda Barker, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Wigan President, said: “We are aware much progress is being made with development linked road improvements from the Saddle Junction in Wigan town centre to Gibfield on the Atherton/Leigh boundary. Yet more always needs to be done.

“Businesses want to see continued work to improve congestion - especially in Wigan town centre and the A577. Many businesses have concerns about the congestion and road improvements as well as the impacts of new economic development work.

“It is vital that through the transport strategy we have two key things in place to ensure business involvement: a single forum where transport management professionals and borough engineers can meet the community, and also that businesses feel part of these discussions.”

The main beef of clients at The IT Way in Market Street is parking. Owner Sam Blakeman said: “We are concerned about both its cost and availability.

“Customers often say that they couldn’t find a space or feel ripped off paying more than £1 to quickly nip into town.

“The Trafford Centre has huge free car parks just 30 minutes away. Why pay several pounds to park in Wigan when you have that option?”

David Bamford of nearby Symphony Music said: “My main concern is how the council values the town centre road network and its motorists in relation to out-of-town and traffic management priorities. Hopefully it will have strategies to encourage drivers into town and make the borough network more efficient.

“In recent years, intentionally or not, the constant endeavour to optimise the road network around the town centre and its obsession with out-of-town development has alienated the high street and is slowly starving the business area of pedestrians.

“Prohibitive car-parking charges further add as a deterrent to town-centre shopping.”