Wigan to receive £16m from Government's Future High Streets Fund
Wigan town centre is set to receive a funding boost of more than £16m through the Future High Streets Fund, the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.
The town, which will be given £16.6m, is one of nine areas in the North West to benefit from a total £102m worth of funding.
Following the substantial easing of lockdown on Monday (May 17), the funding aims to provide a much-needed boost for high streets as they welcome shoppers and visitors back to their town.
The cash windfall comes as Wigan Council chiefs look to recover from the loss of the town’s biggest department store, Debenhams, based in The Grand Arcade, which closed on May 8.
And the town is also set to lose its WHSmith store by the end of the year, having already lost Marks and Spencer, Top Man and Top Shop.
To fill this gaping hole left by the closures, council bosses have revealed ambitious plans to transform the town centre over the next five years, with a £130m redevelopment of the Galleries shopping centre planned.
And the council’s efforts have been recognised as the town receives Government funding in recognition of the “forward-thinking and innovative proposals” they have developed.
The other eight places in the North West to benefit from funding are Bolton, Carlisle City Centre, Kirkham, Crewe, New Ferry, Rochdale, Maryport and Oldham.
The funding is part of an £831m Government investment, which was announced in December 2020, and will now help a total of 72 areas across England.
Local Growth Minister Luke Hall said: “High streets are the beating heart of our local communities.
“That’s why we are investing over £168 million Future High Streets funding for the North West to ensure the region’s towns and cities can build back better from the pandemic.
“Over £10m will improve accessibility and connectivity in Oldham town centre, and £11m will regenerate Maryport high street, delivering a new multifunctional market and events space, a community hub, leisure centre and gallery.
“This investment will help transform towns across the North West, unlocking new jobs, regenerating high streets and levelling up every area of the country.”
He added: “From improving transport and access into town centres to converting retail units into new homes, the Government said plans will deliver long-term impacts that drive growth, raise living standards and ultimately help level up the regions."
Leader of Wigan Council, Coun David Molyneux, said: “We’re delighted to have received such a significant amount of funding to revitalise our town centre and we hope this news is welcomed by residents and local businesses after what has been a turbulent time.”
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here and viewing our offers ...