Town centre plans

Wigan Borough is the second largest council in Greater Manchester and includes the towns of Wigan, Leigh and Ashton-in-Makerfield.

There are more than 320,000 people in Wigan Borough and its population is growing.

We're serious about supporting businesses with their ambitions and helping them succeed and so we've created town centre plans to highlight the strengths and opportunities for our town centres and are committed to working with the private sector and our communities to build on and shape our borough’s future.


Wigan Town Centre is by far the largest town centre in the borough for shopping, services and employment with over 120,000 square metres of retail floor space, over 300,000 visitors per week and supporting 10,000 jobs. However, shopping habits are changing and people want more from their local high street - more of a leisure and cultural experience as opposed to just a retail offer.

Town centres continue to have an important role in supporting social interaction, a sense of community and business growth but people increasingly also want variety and a reason to come back. Wigan Town Centre has to transform into a destination of choice and whilst continuing to be proud of its heritage, it also has to adapt to satisfy the demands of today’s consumer.

Significant work is already underway to put Wigan Town Centre on a more sustainable footing including investment into our highways, transport systems, education, cultural offer, public realm and commercial space. Now is the time to build on this work and move forward with our vision to maintain the vitality and viability of Wigan for our visitors, residents and local businesses.


Leigh is a town with a rich, illustrious history and an exciting and vibrant future. Leigh has a multitude of inspirational regeneration and growth opportunities using its famous canals as catalysts for change, inspiring new development and creative and attractive living spaces.

To help drive the regeneration of Leigh Town Centre a long term plan has been produced. The plan (called Leigh Town Centre Strategic Regeneration Framework) was informed by extensive consultation with the community and businesses in Leigh. It outlines the roadmap to a new and varied offer that attracts investment, improves experience and provides opportunities for local people and businesses.


Ashton-in-Makerfield is a great place to live, work and visit. With a thriving centre, outstanding schools, beautiful green spaces and an excellent location for commuting, there is a huge amount to be proud of and celebrate. That doesn't mean as a council we should rest on our laurels - we must instead work hard to fully realise Ashton’s economic potential.

We are committed to working with the private sector and our communities to further improve what Ashton has to offer and to enable it to grow and prosper in the decades to come. Our plan for Ashton is the first part in helping to shape that future. It highlights what we already have in Ashton and what we can build on for the future.


With its great schools, high quality greenspace, attractive heritage buildings and excellent road and rail transport connections, Atherton has much to be proud of. Atherton’s centre continues to thrive as a bustling local town with a diverse mix of unique independent shops and leisure venues and a developing quality night-time economy with an increasing number of busy restaurants, cafes and bars. 

There are many exciting opportunities for Atherton to take advantage of over the next few years, but this will only be achieved through the combined efforts of the private and public sectors, local businesses, residents and other stakeholders. This Plan is the first step in helping to achieve that vision, highlighting what we already have in the town and surrounding area, and what we can build on for the future.

© Wigan Council