Town centre masterplan reaches D-Day

Atherton town centre
Atherton town centre

Councillors will tomorrow decide whether or not to adopt the latest plan for an urban centre in the borough aimed at shaping future policies.

The Plan for Atherton will be considered by the confident places scrutiny committee at Wigan Council following on from similar documents for Wigan, Leigh and Ashton.

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The report has highlighted a number of issues the centre of Atherton faces, including a lack of variety of shops, the need for a parking review and improvements to the look of key public areas such as Market Street.

Residents also feel there has been a loss of community feeling and not enough focus on the town centre, the plan says.

The document suggests Atherton needs to take advantage of its location and infrastructure links more while saying new housing developments around the town could boost the numbers of people visiting the centre.

The committee will be asked if it approves the final draft of the plan. If that happens the document will be published alongside the other plans on Wigan Council’s website.

The report’s introduction says: “Atherton’s location close to Manchester city centre and other large towns has helped it become both an established commuter town and a thriving business location - and means it is well-positioned to take advantage of future growth too.

“We want Atherton to play a bigger role as a district centre of the borough, and it is a town with fantastic potential to do so.”

The plan calls for better use to be made of Atherton’s proximity to both the M61 and surrounding towns and cities from its two railway stations and along the guided busway.

In the town centre it wants the Market Street heritage area around the parish church designated a gateway site and further development to take place at Ena Mill Designer Outlet.

The appearance of the centre should also be spruced up, the plan suggests, with priorities including more shelter for shoppers in the form of canopies.

The report also calls for pop-up shops and stalls for new businesses to try out their services and for more housing to be encouraged within walking distance of the centre.