ASHTON market is set for a range of improvements which will “transform” it.
A major scheme has now been submitted by council planners for approval for new Gerard Street entrance along with reconstruction of the bowing and unsightly outer retaining wall.
Along with an end to the “litter trap” fencing which has long surrounded the site.
A spokesman for the council said that the authority had done a lot of work to promote markets use generally – and not just in Wigan and Leigh.
Phil Edge, council markets manager said: “Ashton is a very popular local market and we are delighted that we are able to support and invest in it.
“We have traders interested in joining Ashton market which is excellent news and shows how a well run market can make a positive impact in its community.” Ward Independent Coun Paul Tushingham - a fan of the market since being a ‘boy in short trousers’ - describes the package of improvements as a victory for his tenacity after first demanding investment be used to rejuvenate the market as far back as in 2005.
He is certain that an improved market will be an ideal partner to the refurbished walkways and furniture which has helped to breath new life and belief into Gerard Street as a vibrant local shopping centre in it’s own right.
Coun Tushingham said: “All things come to those who wait!
“The market I remember from my childhood was very busy and vibrant, so vast that it covered virtually every cobble of the market square.
“The old stalls were very much in character with a market and the place had a good feel about it and such a good reputation that people travelled there from far a field, especially for it’s markets on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
“I am pleased to say that after many years of pressing Wigan Council to do something about Ashton Market, the time is almost here to turn back the clock to those happier times for this important facility for the townspeople.
“Plans have now been submitted for planning permission and engineering drawings and cost estimates achieved along with the legal issues about the land involving the Gerard Estate which are also now almost resolved.
“We have had safety devices fitted to the doors along with new toilet facilities provided for shoppers and market traders.
“There is also a better means of disposing of market trade waste and better CCTV coverage of the market. I am sure that everyone will welcome the eradication of a local eyesore and especially the litter trap it created.
“It is great to see some further regeneration investment in Ashton and I hope to continue making other improvements in the year.
“This fits in nicely with the Gerard Street improvements I brought about in recent years.”
He added that discussion to make the market more attractive were ongoing with both those who have stalls and shoppers alike.