Wigan Council bids for Government millions for "levelling up"

An artist's impression of a revamped Leigh town centreAn artist's impression of a revamped Leigh town centre
An artist's impression of a revamped Leigh town centre
Bids for all three Wigan borough constituencies will be submitted to the government’s £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund.

The fund, which launched in March, gives local authorities the opportunity to apply for up to £20m for each MP constituency.

To be successful the bid must support local growth and delivery of local priorities to address local and regional economic disparity.

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Wigan borough is classed as a high priority area, meaning additional funding will be available after the first round to help develop proposals.

The deadline for bids in the fund’s first round, which prioritises “shovel-ready” projects, closes today (Friday 18th June). The first of the three bids for the borough, which focusses on the Galleries redevelopment in Wigan has been submitted. The second and third bid, for Leigh and Ashton in Makerfield will be submitted in round two in around 12 months’ time.

With 12 months to develop and refine Leigh and Ashton’s bids in consultation with local MPs, businesses and residents, the council is confident that all three of the borough’s main town centres will benefit from the scheme.

Coun David Molyneux, leader of Wigan Council, said: “I’d like to thank our team who have been working incredibly hard to pull bids together in a very short timeframe. We were hoping to submit a bid for both Wigan and Leigh in Round 1, but sadly we were unable to get the political backing needed and as a pre-requisite of bidding, we decided not to progress at this stage. We will continue to work hard to get the funding we need to turn the vision for Leigh into a reality.”

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“We will use the next 12 months to develop and refine our proposals for Leigh and Ashton-in-Makerfield in consultation with local MPs, businesses and residents.”

The initial proposals for Leigh include a green events space, a community hub, a residential offer and improved pedestrian connectivity around the town and wider area. The proposal has been designed to help increase footfall to the town centre, stimulate activity and raise the town’s profile.

The council has also been in contact with Chris Green MP to see if there is any scope for a bid in the Atherton area, which falls under the Bolton West constituency. Discussions are progressing.

Round 1 funding decisions will be announced Autumn 2021. Bids are assessed against level of need, deliverability, strategic fit, value for money and require ministerial support.

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