Have your say on spending £1m

RESIDENTS of a Wigan borough community have just one last chance to have their say in how they would spend £1m to improve their local area.

So far, more than 700 people in Leigh West have given their thoughts on how they think their neighbourhood should be shaped over the course of the next 10 years. But time is running out.

The last of a series of Planning for Real community consultations is due to take place on Thursday, September 8 between 9am and 4pm on the corner of Walmesley Road and Bengal Street, next to Leigh CE Infants School.

This final opportunity for residents to have their say follows on from previous sessions that have taken place in a range of public locations – from the Town Hall square and Leigh library to local schools, churches and youth groups.

The Planning for Real consultation is a process in which local participants use a three-dimensional model of their local area. This “hands on” tool encourages people of all backgrounds to express their ideas in an easily-accessible format, and allows them to prioritise ideas based on local needs.

The process also gives residents the chance to meet with service providers and stakeholders and to pitch their suggestions directly to planners and decision-makers.

The sessions have been laid on as part of the Leigh Neighbours community development project, a campaign which aims to improve access to local opportunities and resources, to nurture the community leaders of tomorrow and to help create a more cohesive community. The area is one of 50 neighbourhoods in England set to benefit from at least £1m National Lottery money as part of the Big Local programme.

The results of the Planning for Real consultation exercise will inform how this funding is invested in the area over the next 10 years.

Details around how the fund will be administered are still being ironed out.

The money will not be held by the council, but held in trust by the Citizens Advice Bureau.

A Community Plan will shortly be drawn up to illustrate how the money will be spent, and to demonstrate how the ideas and views of local people have been used to drive the planning process.

To find out more information, contact Stephen Ruffley on 709709.