Leigh town centre upgrade blueprint gets the green light
Plans to transform Leigh town centre have been approved by Wigan Council’s executive.
Proposals for a footbridge, pocket park and new homes were backed by the cabinet, having proved popular with locals in a February public consultation.
Wigan Council’s long-term vision for Leigh published earlier this year is a regeneration "roadmap" which includes creating a series of linked green spaces and a new "pocket park" in the next six years as well as promoting a greener, carbon-neutral town centre.
The town hall hopes to complete new council homes in Wharfdale and the Railway Arches Car Park in the next three to six years with longer-term ambitions of establishing "attractive and large-scale" housing estates.
A new pedestrian bridge is set to be built over the canal to connect West Bridgewater Street and The Loom in the next two years and new crossings would be created at Atherleigh Way, Spinning Jenny Way and Leigh Road.
An extension of the guided busway, to create connections with Leigh Sports Village and Wigan town centre, is also set to be explored further into the future.
A draft of the Strategic Regeneration Framework for Leigh town centre was published before a six-week consultation got under way in February.
Deputy leader of the local authority, Coun Keith Cunliffe said: “We want Leigh to be a vibrant and attractive place to live, with a reinvigorated town centre which is at the heart of the community.
“It’s a town with rich history and a positive future, which makes it a big part of our growth plans.
“However, like many towns across the country, Leigh has been affected as people choose to spend money online rather than at high street stores.
“This plan is essential to defining a new future for the town centre and helps us to demonstrate a long-term vision, which is essential when bidding for additional resources, such as the government’s Levelling Up Fund.
“We want to be ambitious for the future of Leigh and drive forward positive change and investment.”
The masterplan highlights several key opportunities and priorities, including:
Key development opportunities such the West Bridgewater Street site and sites around the eastern edge of the town around Chapel Street, Brown Street and Gas Street;
Key opportunities to improve connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists within and around the town centre, including access to the canal;
Greenspace and public space improvements including making the town centre greener and more attractive;
Creating spaces for businesses to thrive including start-ups and growing businesses;
Reducing traffic through the town centre and prioritising pedestrians;
Developing the Civic Square as a vibrant hub for civic and cultural activity.
Coun Cunliffe added: “Thank you to those who took part in the consultation and shared their views. It was positive to see that so many share our ambitions.
“A number of the key issues raised, including tackling ASB and reducing the number of empty shops, have been addressed through the plans.
“Attracting development is critical to delivering our aspirations, and this framework articulates to developers the type and quality of development sought in the town centre and will help to shape emerging proposals.
“Leigh town centre has the potential to become a vibrant heart and focus for the surrounding community. A successful town centre will drive economic prosperity and wellbeing throughout Leigh.”
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