James Grundy MP: We can be a thriving town once again

During the General Election campaign of 2019, I campaigned to “Get Brexit Done” and “Fix Our Town”.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 3:00 pm
Leigh MP James Grundy

One of my first votes in Parliament, in fact, was to enact the democratic vote of the British people to leave the European Union.

Since then, I have been working hard to ensure that our constituency of Leigh secures investment and I’m pleased that last week, the Chancellor committed to increasing much-needed investment in key local projects once again, proving this Government’s commitment to levelling up towns like ours.

As many of you know, one of my key priorities is to improve local transport infrastructure by reconnecting Leigh to the national rail network and completing the Atherleigh Way Bypass, which will in turn open up our town’s access to neighbouring towns and cities and only boost our local economy.

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This is why I was delighted to hear the Chancellor commit to funding the reopening of Golborne railway station and confirm further funding commitments to develop a business case for the reopening of a railway station for Leigh.

But, the Chancellor’s funding commitment to Leigh did not stop there. He also confirmed as a part of this funding package for a Travel Hub at Tyldesley, again further connecting our town centres and improving our towns prospects.

Earlier this year, I was also asked to support Leigh Spinners Mill’s bid for funding from the Government’s Community Ownership Fund.

Following this request, I ensured that I wrote a supporting letter for their fantastic bid to transform this historic mill, and I’m pleased to say that this project was also granted its funding request by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP.

Of course, this funding news is most welcome, but there are still a number of other projects that I want to ensure are delivered for my constituents.

In March this year, the Chancellor announced the creation of a Levelling Up Fund, which would provide local authorities with the opportunity to bid for £20 million for each constituency in their local authority area.

This provided an exciting opportunity for Wigan Council to bid for £20 million the Leigh constituency, and after lobbying the Government for increased funding for Leigh, our area was given priority 1 status for funding.

In a previous column for the Wigan Observer, I shared my frustrations about Wigan Council’s proposals for the Levelling Up Fund bid for the Leigh constituency.

Their proposals centred around the creation of a multi-storey car park and developing existing car parks in the town into housing.

I believed that far more could be done with this funding, and having consulted with local residents and local businesses, their key priorities included the regeneration of Leigh Market, the full pedestrianisation of Bradshawgate, tackling ASB in the town centre, relocating the Methadone Dispensary from the town centre, and improving the visual appearance of shop frontage.

Unfortunately, Wigan Council’s plans did not deliver on these promises and in turn, I could not provide my support to the bid.

Since the local authority failed to put forward a meaningful bid this year, I have also encouraged the council to release their proposals for this year’s Levelling Up Fund for local residents to have their say, but this request has also sadly been ignored.

Since then, I have been working with local businesses and local residents to further understand their priorities for Leigh, developing ideas which I believe truly deliver the changes they want to see in their town centre.

I have also already reached out to Wigan Council to encourage them to work collaboratively with me to ensure a successful bid can be put forward for next year’s funding round.

There are exciting times ahead for Leigh, and I will continue to do all I can to ensure that our local area can continue to gather the funding it needs to reach its true potential and become a thriving northern town once again.

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