Masterplan revealed for a post-pandemic Wigan borough
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A fairer, greener economy and confronting local inequalities are cornerstone pledges of Wigan Council’s post-pandemic recovery strategy.
With public, private and community sector partnership working at its heart, the masterplan also includes a major new public engagement campaign.
The strategy – Wigan Borough’s Road to Recovery – has been unveiled this week and includes regeneration and improving health and wellbeing as key themes.
Council leader David Molyneux said: “Throughout the pandemic we have been extremely proud of our communities and how they have responded. Although we face significant challenges, we have an opportunity to build on the foundations of The Deal and the fantastic community spirit we have in our borough to develop our build back fairer approach.
“We will seize this opportunity and engage with our residents to ensure Wigan borough has a safer, greener and more secure society – with improved health outcomes and a growing and sustainable local economy.”
The recovery strategy includes four pledges: rebuild the local economy; support communities and health and wellbeing; confront local inequalities; regenerate borough places.
They will be underpinned by Wigan Council’s Community Wealth-Building principles, bringing together public, private and community sectors to rejuvenate the borough’s economy.
Ambitions to grow the low carbon economy to deliver new employment and enable the borough to become less reliant on fossil fuels over the next five to 10 years in line with its climate change plans are also included.
The council, unlike many authorities, is able to invest in its recovery priorities including a £2m community recovery fund for the voluntary and community sector and new cultural, arts and health programmes will support health and wellbeing.
There will be investment in 100 new apprenticeships and new training and job opportunities in the health and social care sector.
The town hall says it will build more than 200 new affordable homes, invest in new accommodation for the homeless and deliver new homes to let through its ethical letting agency.
The local authority has also committed to securing as much external funding as possible from Government and other sources to boost economic growth and jobs.
The plan sets out some of the immediate impacts the pandemic has had on the borough including rising unemployment, especially among younger people, and more than 18,000 still on furlough. Wider impacts include an increase in anti-social behaviour, growth in the number of children on free school meals and an increase in the number of adults requiring support for complex needs.
The council says it will also to continue to listen to residents about their ambitions for the future of the borough and will hold The Big Listening Festival starting later this month. In similar fashion to the way that the council’s Big Listening Project in 2018 informed the Deal 2030 plans, feedback from the BLF will help refresh key priority areas, bosses say.
Coun Molyneux added: “We have the chance to address some of the immediate pressures posed by the pandemic through revisiting the 10 themes of Deal 2030. There is no doubt that our world has changed in the past 18 months and we must reflect that to ensure we have confidence and optimism for the future.”
In the months and years to come, locals can also look forward to regeneration of the Galleries and Wigan Pier (above).
The Big Listening Festival will focus on themes – such as children and young people, communities and safety, climate change and future employment – giving residents the opportunity to voice what is important to them.
To read the recovery plan visit: www.wigan.gov.uk/Deal2030
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