A fresh hope for Wigan Market Place
An overhaul is back on the cards for one of Wigan's best-known crossroads.
Regeneration of Market Place has been a talking point between the town hall and the public since 2014.
And now economic development chiefs at the borough council are seeking £510,000 to revamp the historic junction, which was briefly home to the town hall in the 19th century.
Work on the square has taken several different forms, with the idea of towering tram beams being installed, harking back to the Roaring Twenties, having now been officially abandoned.
Council officials say their ultimate ideas for Market Place are still on the drawing board.
But the authority’s executive is being asked next month to allocate just over half a million pounds so fresh blueprints can be drafted.
This represents scaled-down ambitions for the initiative, for which a figure of around £1.3m had been envisaged in previous years.
But whichever scheme eventually wins favour, it is likely that the walled area will be removed.
An estimate of £50,000 has already been talked about by council officials for that side of the project.
Town centre shoppers and workers felt the seating there attracted anti-social elements when they were quizzed about the matter last year.
Rebecca Heron, director for economy at Wigan Council, said: “Following the public consultation feedback on the previous proposals and
concerns from members of the public about anti-social behaviour around the walled area at the top of Market Street, we’ve re-looked at the design and developed an alternative scheme to reflect those comments.
“We’ve submitted a request for funding to take these proposals forward and, subject to council approval in July, we will be developing the scheme further over the summer months.”
The acquisition of the Galleries, together with Marketgate and Makinson Arcade, is understood to have given added impetus to the venture, which has been on hold since last summer.
Work is also continuing on the new bus station, which is still on track to open later this year. The future of the Civic Centre, in Millgate, is also under review, as staff prepare to vacate the offices later this summer.