Youth Zone starting to take shape

Groundworks underway at the building site of Wigan Youth Zone on Mesnes Playing Fields, Parson's Walk, Wigan
Groundworks underway at the building site of Wigan Youth Zone on Mesnes Playing Fields, Parson's Walk, Wigan
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DAY by day the town’s landscape is changing forever - for work is now seriously under way on the much anticipated Wigan Youth Zone.

Construction experts have been on the Mesnes Playing Fields site since the turn of the year to begin the project to create a boys and girls’ club that will be among the best in Europe.

By the end of March a steel skeleton of the building should be emerging and a concrete base have been laid.

The perimeter has already been fenced off and painted and the contractors’ welfare compound set up. Eventually the hoardings will be decorated to promote the zone.

The site has now also been stripped of topsoil and the ground prepared for the start of piling with the steel superstructure set to start appearing in about a month’s time.

The zone, which could cater for up to 3,000 youngsters a week, is due to open early next year and will include outdoor football pitches and a wide range of indoor leisure and cultural facilities, from a recording studio to a gym.

When the project is a little further progressed there are plans to bury a time capsule under the site full of 2012 mementoes.

Wigan Youth Zone development manager Simon Baker said: “It’s great to see the building work finally up and running.

“The size of the project is there for all to see and it clearly reflects our determination to provide a world-class facility for the borough’s young people.”

Mr Baker’s main task is to raise money towards the building and running costs. Millionaires Dave Whelan, Martin Ainscough and Bill Ainscough have pledged £1m each and underwritten the rest of the construction work while other backers are found.

As for its day-to-day running, 10 per cent will be covered by the youngsters’ modest membership fees and anything else they might spend their money on at the club, 40 per cent from the council and 50 per cent from private sector sponsorship.

Mr Baker said he had secured about a quarter of what was needed from this last source to run the club for the first three years.