WIGAN’S flagship political forum will return home to the town hall this evening following a couple of away days at an alternative venue.
Ongoing restoration works at the Grade II listed building had meant the two recent full council meets were held across the borough at Leigh’s town hall.
We’re pleased to be back in the building again for the next full council, although there is still a lot of the renovation project still happening, it’s a great stepCoun Terry Halliwell
But the full chamber will have a homecoming of sorts tonight with councillors hoping the return to familiar surroundings will trigger an upturn in behaviour.
The last two meetings have been controversial affairs with January’s proceedings halted early due to Coun Bob Brierley refusing to leave having been ordered out.
Coun Terry Halliwell, cabinet member for transformation, told the Evening Post: “We’re pleased to be back in the building again for the next full council, although there is still a lot of the renovation project still happening, it’s a great step.”
The £6.1m makeover scheme, run in conjunction with English Heritage, is part of the local authority’s efforts to modernise their building stock.
Many of the unique features of the town hall - first built in 1902 - are being restored and its grid of chimneys, pipes and tunnels which make up its Victorian heating system are being refurbished.
Council officers are budgeting that the works will save Wigan taxpayers’ money in the future by making the building more energy efficient and centralising staff, cutting down on administrative costs.
The ambitious project has been years in the making in response to health and safety concerns over the building’s structural integrity.
Coun Halliwell added: “Work is continuing on the town hall project as part of our over-arching modernisation programme.
“We’re changing the way we work and the way our services run to make things better for the customers and to offer greater value for money all round. Once completed, the modernisation programme should save local tax payers around £1m every year.”
Tonight’s budget meeting starts at 7pm.