Wednesday 10th November 2010
Wigan town centre has won the Lottery!
Exciting plans to revitalise one of town’s most prominent streets are now set to become reality thanks to a funding boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced that it will be supporting the Wigan Wallgate Townscape Heritage Initiative with £1.2m worth of funding.
Council planners submitted a bid to the fund to help create to transform the street from a noisy thoroughfare into a tree-lined pedestrian-friendly boulevard. The scheme stretches from the Wallgate Bridge to The Wiend and includes parts of Market Place, King Street and Library Street. This project forms part of a larger five year regeneration programme.
The high-profile project will see old pavements replaced with traditional York stone and bollards along the route will be removed. There will be a move to ‘de-clutter’ this area of the town centre by removing old and outdated street signs and street furniture.
Welcoming the news of the funding approval from the Lottery Fund, Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for the Economy and the Environment, Cllr David Molyneux, says: “Wallgate is a really important area for both the town of Wigan and the wider borough. For many visitors coming to our borough by rail coming out of Wallgate or Wigan North Western Station is the first view of Wigan they get. We want to make it a modern, attractive environment that will promote the borough and help bring future trade and investment into Wigan. We also want it to be a place that is enjoyed by local residents who work or shop in our town centre and we want to build on Wigan’s reputation as a shopping destination.
Cllr Molyneux adds: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has chosen to support this scheme which we believe will act as catalyst for further regeneration in our borough.”
Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “Our Historic buildings are at the heart of the identity of our towns, and the best way to save and maintain these wonderful sites is to get them back into full use by local communities. The Wigan Wallgate Townscape Heritage Initiative is a great way of using heritage as a springboard for regeneration and investment, and has the potential to give this area of Wigan a new lease of life.”
Sara continued: "The Borough of Wigan has a wealth of heritage that deserves to be celebrated, although in the past it has tended to receive less HLF funding than other areas. Our Development Team is working with Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust and Wigan & Leigh CVS to encourage more applications, and any community groups with an idea for a heritage project of any size should contact Rebecca Mason at our local office in Manchester to discuss further."
The THI will also provide grant assistance to renovate a number of key properties within the town centre and bring them back into vibrant use. The Council will also be working closely with partners to provide opportunities to obtain further education within the construction and conservation field for local students. Council planners will soon be writing to property owners in the area inform them of the plans and to seek their views. The community will also play a vital role in the proposed transformation of key town centre sites such as Tower Buildings on Wallgate and the Grimes Arcade on King Street.
If all goes well council planners and engineers are hoping work can start on the new scheme early next year.