Residents have a say on Galleries masterplan

Alf and Eunice Julien at the public consultation
Alf and Eunice Julien at the public consultation
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WIGANERS were out in force this weekend to voice their views on the multi-million pound plan to transform the town centre.

Developers Vale Retail unveiled details of the £60m makeover that will transform The Galleries into a shopping and leisure hub earlier this month.

And before a planning application is submitted, residents were asked to give their feedback on the proposals.

Stephen Allison, 36, who owns commercial property and works in the town centre said the developments could be a boost for business.

He said: “It’s quite exciting, it’s nice to see some new life coming into this place.

“The only concern is that there will be a lot of disruption while it is being built.

“And I’m interested to know if there will be a knock-on effect.”

Karen Mitchell, 50, who lives on nearby Parson’s Walk said: “The Galleries has been virtually empty for a long time, walking through it is like a ghost town, it’s ridiculous.

“The cinema will be handy, especially as I will be able to walk there.

“The market as it is looks grotty. Moving it to a better location and with new facilities has got to help and that’s a positive thing.”

David Whittle, 72, from Golborne said he was impressed with the plans but remained sceptical on whether the development would be a success.

He said: “It looks brilliant if that’s what it will be when it’s finished.

“I’m old enough to remember other developments in the town centre that didn’t go so well.

“I’m not sure on the sitting outside cafes and restaurants thing on the plans. That’s okay abroad but it’s crackers over here.

“Everyone would get soaked, we only get a week or fortnight in the sun here.”

Alf and Eunice Julien, both 71, from Gidlow, were impressed with the proposals.

Eunice said: “We’ll look forward to it. We’ve seen changes before but we’re not sure they had the long term in mind.

Alf added: “We need to keep the traditional look of the town and these plans seem to do that.

“Any developments need to retain Wigan’s charm. Hopefully there will be a thriving market as a result of this.”

Vale Retail’s Adrian Oliver said: “We’re most encouraged by both the great turnout as well as the quality of constructive feedback. Several issues have been raised which we’ll respond to in turn.”