Images show £900,000 regeneration initiative in Leigh town centre

Market stalls on Bradshawgate
Market stalls on Bradshawgate
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This is how the revamped Bradshawgate will look after a £900,000 regeneration initiative in Leigh town centre.

Market traders have welcomed new surfacing, trees and lighting for the thoroughfare and neighbouring Albion Street.

Under the scheme, the outdoor stalls along Albion Street will relocate to a new home on Bradshawgate, leading up to Vernon Street.

But the project has not received universal claim, amid calls for extra investment in Leigh’s shopping heartland.

Part of the works will also see a new entrance created for the indoor market, leading to the Spinning Gate shopping centre.

Market traders’ spokesman Glenn Furnival, who runs the Fish Man of Leigh stall, said: “I’m hoping it will be an improvement.

I’m hoping it will be an improvement

Glenn Furnival

“With the original outdoor market you used to get lots of problems with the weather so hopefully there will be more footfall and it should be a lot more pleasing on the eye.”

The proposals were first suggested back in 2014 and Mr Furnival said the starting date “kept getting pushed back and back”.

He is looking forward to extra space being created along Albion Street where special attractions and promotions can be hosted through the year.

The traders have been told that the 20-week scheme should be completed by the first week of October.

Traders decamped further along Bradshawgate earlier in the summer and the market’s canopy has been removed.

However, John Fazackerley, who runs his own furniture shop in Silk Street, is not convinced the upgrade will have the required effect.

He said: “I don’t think a lot of people are very impressed, unless the place can be kept free of beggars and drug addicts.

“The town centre needs cleaning up first, otherwise these people will just have a luxurious place to sit down.”

He believes that at least 10 times the scheme’s near £1m price tag should be invested in the likes of Bradshawgate and surrounding streets before the improvements can have any effect.

“It’s just another sweetener from Wigan,” he added.

Council bosses have stressed the Bradshawgate scheme is just one portion of a three-phase £5m investment in Leigh town centre,

The second phase is also slated for Bradshawgate, between Bold Street and Silk Street, with the remaining section concentrating on Albion Street and Gas Street later in the year.

And when they unveiled the scheme, said that moving the open market to Bradshawgate would give stallholders “increased visibility and improve access”.

Council leader Lord Smith said: “This will be a total transformation of one of the most high profile parts of Leigh.

“It will create a new, open entrance to the indoor market and Spinning Gate Shopping Centre while providing a better home for the outdoor market.

“Bradshawgate and Albion Street will also be improved.

“Creating town centres that local people are proud of and which meet the needs of the local community is an important priority.”

The work was originally scheduled to coincide with a £1.3m overhaul of Market Place in Wigan, which has been completed, as part of a wider shopping masterplan for the borough’s largest towns.

Karl Battersby, the borough council’s economy and environment director, said that the aim was to keep the amount of disruption for traders to a minimum, during the course of the various phases.