Canal to Transform Leigh Town Centre

The Bridgewater and Leeds & Liverpool canals are a central hotspot in the town of Leigh, and have been part of the industrial heritage of the town since cotton and coal mining were the main trades. Today, Wigan Council is working closely alongside the Canal and River Trust and the Bridgewater Canal Company in order to endorse these important waterways as the centre of the renaissance of the town.

Future Visions
Artist’s impressions have been created in order to offer a future vision for the town, with plans to build upon the existing investment including the £50 million Loom shopping centre which is located alongside the Bridgewater Canal.

Work on the Spinners Mill Engine House is already well underway, with plans set to fully renovate the structure for use in the community. There are also further, existing plans regarding the refurbishment of Mather Lane Mill on the canal side, which involve building 120 new apartments that will be a breath of fresh air for the landmark Grade II building, built during Victorian times in 1882. Council bosses are hoping that this project will bring more young people to the town of Leigh in search for modern, affordable housing. New homes are already listed for sale on Plank Lane alongside the canal at a site that is set to be the home for a new marina which is due to be open for business at some point during autumn.

Leigh Canal Festival
£25,000 in funding has been secured by Wigan Council and the Canal and River Trust in order to improve the King Street Bridge canal entrance, alongside helping to get young people involved in the town’s heritage by organising the new Leigh Canal Festival, set to be held in September. The aim is to promote the canals to a modern audience and offer a retreat from the busy world that we live in, a huge step away from the image of the grimy transport routes of the 19th Century.

Healthier Living
David Molyneux, Wigan Council’s deputy leader, believes that improving these waterways will not only add significant aesthetic value to the town of Leigh, but will also be a way of helping people in the community live healthier lifestyles, with the quiet towpaths along the canals set to be a popular spot for joggers and those looking to enjoy the fresh air. Along with this, he is confident that the project will breathe new life into the town, leading to new jobs in the area and prosperity for the population of Leigh with its plans for cheerfully coloured boats and leisure cruises.

The canal is intended to be a linear park, and will be open to the use of everybody in the community. Chantelle Seaborne, Canal River & Trust waterway manager, has expressed desires for local people to use the canal, whether it be for boating, living close by, getting involved in the festival, or even using it as a base for a business.

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