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Town centre revamp is resurrected; makeover will allow for more events.

Byline: JAMES ILLINGWORTH newsdesk@men-news.co.uk @MENNEWSDESK

A MAKEOVER project for Wigan's Market Place has been resurrected and will start in 2019, the council has said.

The faltering regeneration plan - which will enable the town centre to host large-scale events - had been shelved last year.

Authority bosses have now settled on a new version of the development, although it represents a scaled down revision of the original PS1.3m proposal.

Absent from the designs - with a new contract for PS510k issued - are the four tramway beacons and the bespoke street furniture that were at the forefront of previous blueprints.

The central location will be transformed to create a 'focal point', the town hall has said.

Works will start in early 2019, with walls on the public plaza lowered to create a 'more usable and flexible space for performances and events.'.

Coun David Molyneux, leader of the council, said: "We recognise that our town centres are so much more a social space than they used to be, which is why we have created a design to compliment events and to provide a welcoming focal point in the town centre." The plans include the replacement of existing benches, additional seating, recycling bins, installation of planters, trees and flowers and cycle parking.

Council bosses had placed the project on hold days before construction was due to begin in 2017. The decision came after the new mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, announced the GM Spatial Framework (GMSF) - a major housing and industrial strategy - would be rewritten. The council said it wanted time to assess how an increased focus on town centre regeneration would impact on the borough. The GMSF has since been beset by delays and the town hall has now opted to give fresh impetus to its redevelopment vision.

Making Market Place 'fit for the future' has been part of the council's long-term plans since 2014, although the project was placed on hiatus a year later because of a spending review.

The resurrection of the project comes towards the end of a mixed year for the town centre.

Wigan's central bus station has opened in recent weeks following a multi-million pound revamp and the council has stepped in to buy the Galleries shopping centre. But Marks and Spencer will be vacating its prominent spot - amid ongoing uncertainty in the retail sector - and town hall bosses are yet to reveal plans for the Galleries.

Coun Molyneux said: "Wigan Council is committed to supporting the continued vitality of its town centres which is why we have invested money into both Wigan and Leigh over the last 12 months. The new Market Place will deliver a much improved environment for visitors and businesses and as a place for events and leisure activities."

Construction company North Midland Construction PLC has been chosen by the town hall to deliver the plans. Works are scheduled to start in January and expected to last 10 weeks.

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Wigan's Market Place, which will have a makeover

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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 8, 2018
Words:498
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