Have your say on Wigan town centre street's £1.2m revival

Residents and businesses in Wigan are being asked to feedback on ways to breathe new life into King Street as part of a £1.2m high street improvement scheme.

By Charles Graham
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 2:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:50 am
King Street
King Street

The famous road was once homes to a large number of performance venues and in the 1990s and early 2000s would draw huge numbers of visitors to its nightclubs and bars.

But it has fallen on harder times since then and while it remains home to a number of nightspots, it also contains a number of empty and derelict buildings and attracts nowhere near the same numbers as it did in previous incarnations.

Wigan Council aims to revitalise King Street through the refurbishment of the Royal Court Theatre and Grimes Arcade, connecting to Arcade Street and a small courtyard, after being granted £1,271,177 from the government.

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Delivered through Historic England, the funding comes from the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) programme and aims to unlock the potential of historic high streets across England to boost economic growth and social recovery.

Strengthening the relationships between culture, communities and historic places is at the heart of the HAZ initiative and the council is working closely with The Old Courts, and a consortium of borough-based organisations, to deliver some fantastic arts and cultural activities on the street.

On behalf of the King Street Wigan HAZ Programme, the University of Central Lancashire has launched an online survey for anyone with an interest in the area to help shape future regeneration plans.

They are particularly interested in hearing from young people, aged between 16 to 24, to gauge their opinions on what is currently on offer for leisure and entertainment and if it’s still fit-for-purpose.

Coun Terry Halliwell, lead member for heritage and building conservation at the council, said: “We know how important the HAZ plans are for the future of the town and we’d love as many people as possible to take part in the survey and tell us what they think.”

The project is being led by UCLan’s Creative Innovation Zone (CIZ), based within the Faculty of Culture and Creative Industries, which helps businesses meet their commercial challenges through academic and student-led problem solving.

The findings from the survey will be analysed by fashion promotion and marketing students from UCLan, who will then lead a public workshop in March to discuss how these findings can inform a roadmap for development.

Eve Astle, course leader for fashion promotion and marketing at UCLan, said: “It’s an exciting project to be involved in and one we feel we can really add value to. We will use the data collated from this survey to map social trends and customer behaviours so that any regeneration proposals truly reflect what the Wigan community want from King Street.”

Through the Wigan Local History and Heritage Society, supported by the Archives service, the project will also examine the rich history of King Street, its buildings, people, and their stories in order to celebrate the past in any future plans.

Photography and graphics students from Wigan and Leigh College will also feed into the research, by visually documenting King Street over the next few months and sharing their findings via Instagram.

The survey is available online and respondents from a range of demographics will be invited to contribute to the public workshop in the Spring. More information about the Wigan HAZ programme are available on the Say Hi to King Street Heritage Action Zone website.

Have your say here.

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