WIGAN TOWN CENTRE IS ABOUT TO ENTER AN EXCITING NEW PHASE, THAT IS FOCUSED ON VIBRANCY, DIVERSITY AND PROSPERITY.
IN 2030, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TOWNS AND CITIES HAS TRANSFORMED. WIGAN IS KNOWN FOR LEADING THIS CHANGE BY CAPITALISING ON THE STRENGTHS AND DIFFERENCES CREATED BY BEING A WELL-FORMED, WELL-CONNECTED BOROUGH.
WE ARE DIFFERENT
WE’RE A BOROUGH MADE UP OF STRONG, PROUD TOWNS, HISTORIC VILLAGES AND A WEALTH OF GREEN AND BLUE SPACES.
In this borough, we like to think we do things differently. Our economic vision is part response and part challenge to that belief.
In everything we do, we need to be our own critic as well as our biggest champion. Are we really stretching ourselves as hard as possible? Is each plan, each action going to make Wigan a really great place to live, work, invest and visit?
In 2030 the relationship between towns and cities has transformed. Wigan is known for leading this change by capitalising on the strengths and differences created by being a well-formed, well-connected borough.
We have a clear plan. We are not trying to be a city because we are a town and we have something different to offer, so we don’t apologise for this difference. We celebrate it. We maximise it.
Our town centres are leisure and cultural destinations. Whether day or night, arts, culture and creativity is embedded in the experience and the mindset of our residents, businesses and visitors.
We’ve grown, we’ve regenerated but we’ve also developed and protected our green spaces, waterways and heritage.
IN 2030, WIGAN IS KNOWN FOR THE WHOLESALE REINVENTION OF THE WIGAN WALLGATE AREA THE WIGAN EXCHANGE PROJECT. IT WILL OFFER A NORTH/SOUTH CONNECTION ON THE WEST COAST MAINLINE WITH SWIFT AND EFFICIENT LOCAL CONNECTIONS. COMBINED WITH THE ARRIVAL OF HS2, IT WILL CREATE A CENTREPIECE FOR OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE.
Our great connections mean that our residents and businesses enjoy the convenience of being located close to London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Preston. But we have pushed the understanding of connectivity, now businesses locate here because of Wigan’s global reach; easy logistics to and from China are just as important as distribution to Birmingham and Manchester.
The way business works and how goods are moved has been transformed. Workforces are flexible, remote, automated, office based, local, national and international. Wigan is a place that responds to all of these needs.
Our connectivity and holistic approach to business development and our wide offer of locations has allowed us to respond and continue to adapt to a changing business environment. HS2 is a reality. By 2023, we’ll travel to London in 83 minutes and Birmingham in 35 minutes. Roads have been built, but walking, cycling and public transport have been prioritised as a way to move across our borough.
Better transport means better health, both mentally and physically. In all new transport developments, sustainability is a focus. We no longer create environments defined as in town and out of town but consider movement as a whole.
Strong connections, emotional journeys and putting our borough at the heart of the North: this is our future.
INNOVATION ISN’T WHAT
WE DO, IT’S HOW WE DO IT.
IN 2030, WE ARE KNOWN AS A PLACE WHERE INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY UNDERPINS WHAT WE DO HERE, WHETHER IT’S OUR APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT AND CHANGE OR THE TYPES OF PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES WE ATTRACT. INNOVATION STARTS AT THE BEGINNING AND WE’LL EMBED AND ENCOURAGE INNOVATIVE THINKING AND DOING TO TAKE OUR WORKFORCE FROM THE NURSERY TO THE WORKPLACE.
In 2030 enterprise across all sectors in the borough of Wigan is innovative and creative, that’s just how we do things here.
And innovation isn’t a separate sector or something only certain individuals or businesses do. Innovation and creativity go hand in hand with successful business – they are robust in the face of social and environmental change. Innovators across all sectors are better employers; and, whether logistics, manufacturing, retail, coffee or film making, innovation and creativity are key to the success of our borough.
Innovation is also about creating flexible approaches and tactics to our working lives, after all it’s unlikely that many people will do the same job from the beginning to the end of their working lives as our relationship with work and retirement continues to evolve.
Jobs in all sectors have moved rapidly up the scale in both skills and salaries. And we have raised the aspirations and skills of our residents, both old and new, to meet this challenge.
We offer mentoring support and skills development to help recognise and build skills around innovation and creativity. Our education system fosters innovation and creativity through learning and experiences, developing people who can continually adapt to the needs of the future.
The borough is constantly embracing the future. Whether it’s automation, social value, the sharing economy, zero carbon, we have always worked in partnership to be ahead of key trends.
RED, GREEN AND BLUE
IN 2030, THE BOROUGH OF WIGAN IS KNOWN FOR BEAUTIFUL GREEN AND BLUE SPACES, BOTH NATURAL AND MANMADE. WE ARE KNOWN FOR OUR CUTTING EDGE ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION OF HERITAGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSETS. THROUGH AN INTELLIGENT AND WIDELY SUPPORTED BOROUGH-WIDE PLAN, THESE GREAT ASSETS HAVE BEEN CONNECTED AND TURNED INTO AN ICONIC AND WELL KNOWN MAGNET FOR NEW RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES.
Our environment has been shaped from our history, the red brick of our heritage buildings, the blue of our canal network and the green of our open countryside, parks and flashes.
But we don’t live in the past, and our environment is shaping our future. We have protected what makes us different, we have adapted to the needs of our future – cleaner air, safer and cleaner transportation and quality housing.
Our space is reinvented but not unrecognisable; waterways are now places people want to live alongside, enjoy leisure time and use to get around.
Empty heritage buildings are now home to new business, culture and leisure activities.
We have not created linear communities. Housing has been developed that responds to need and quality. The mix is vital too. We have created balanced communities where young people, older people, single households and families can all live together.
Our quality of life is defined by our surroundings; beauty, air, space and connection will always be central to our success.
IN 2030, WIGAN IS KNOWN FOR BEING A MAGNET FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, WHERE THEY CAN EXPERIMENT AND INNOVATE AND WHERE THEIR NEXT STEPS WILL BE ENCOURAGED AND NURTURED. FROM THE TOWN CENTRE STRATEGIES AND TRANSPORT PLANNING, TO GREEN SPACES AND HERITAGE TRANSFORMATIONS, YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT OF WHAT WILL BECOME OF THEIR PLACE.
Young people are not attracted to Wigan just because it ticks the liveability boxes of affordable housing, good network links and great outdoor spaces. They are attracted because young people are welcome here. In fact they are more than welcome, they have made this place and they can grow here.
Our borough is a place where people live and work, hubs have been created for businesses to support, feed and grow together, sharing their skills and increasing their business.
The influx of a younger demographic looking for a peri-urban experience has boosted levels of diversity in terms of age, ethnicity and demographics.
From Leigh to Ashton, Standish to Atherton, skills have been enhanced, through quality schooling and access to Further and Higher Education, Gold standard apprenticeships, access to employers and training. Adaptability and change is at the core of young people who choose to live in Wigan.
Age is not a barrier, innovation and amazing ideas can achieve reality here because we always have an eye on the next sector, the next invention, the next big thing.
The health of the next generation is vital, we’ve created spaces where people can come together to network, to enjoy and to relax. Each new generation will be our generation ‘W’.
SECTORS ARE DEAD.
LONG LIVE SECTORS.
IN 2030, WIGAN IS KNOWN FOR BEING A LOCATION WHERE ENTERPRISES GROW BY BEING CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER. WE ARE A MAGNET FOR NEW BUSINESSES AND RELOCATIONS BECAUSE THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECOLOGY FOR SUCCESS MEANS THAT ALL SECTORS CAN FLOURISH HERE.
We know that in 2030 Wigan is a great place to do business. This hasn’t been defined by sectors, because sectors will always change. That’s why we're continually adapting and creating great places where people want to work.
Our business offer focuses on connectivity and growth, we know that all companies have the potential to be technologically and digitally advanced.
Our borough is a campus where enterprises can feed off each other, where successes breed successes.
Out of town does not exist. We have physically connected our existing business places and our new businesses places so they can work better, more efficiently together.
Businesses are attracted here because they know they can offer their team an outstanding quality of life, the potential to relocate and great connectivity. Scientist, designer, entrepreneur, artist, teacher, doctor… our business community reflects our residential community.
Once individuals and companies are here they stay because it's a better way of doing business.
SHEDDING THE PAST.
IN 2030, WIGAN IS KNOWN FOR ENSURING INVESTMENT HAS REAL BENEFITS FOR PEOPLE AND PLACES. WHILE LARGE SCALE AUTOMATED ‘SHEDS’ HAVE A BIG VISUAL AND EMOTIONAL IMPACT, IT’S NOT ALWAYS FELT ON THE GROUND. THAT’S WHY WIGAN HAS BEEN BOLD ENOUGH TO SAY SIZE IS NOT EVERYTHING.
Recognising early on the need to attract businesses where negative environmental impact did not outweigh economic benefit was key to our success. We respected our land value and assets, creating new forms of ownership that focus on jobs and skills creation first.
Large scale operations do not always have a knock on effect to our residents, so we’ve remained keenly and unashamedly focused on supporting and welcoming businesses of all sizes.
We know that smaller and medium sized businesses have a big part to play in our road to 2030, building skills, developing people and employing directly from our own local talent. But of course we remain open, proud and confident to continue to attract big brand names and international businesses, like Nicepak and Heinz, as our potential continues to grow.
That’s why Wigan has been bold enough to say size is not everything.
Our connectivity can be much a problem as a selling point. We recognised early on that we needed to attract businesses where negative environmental impact did not outweigh economic benefit.
We have created new forms of ownership and joint ventures, learning from places like Preston and Airport City Manchester. We look at jobs and skills creation first.
Across the borough, we respect our land value and the assets it brings, assets which once lost, are gone forever.
FROM START UP,
TO SCALE UP.
IN 2030, WIGAN IS KNOWN NOT JUST FOR ATTRACTING BIG BRANDS AND NEW START-UPS BUT FOR REALISING THE POTENTIAL OF OUR EXISTING BUSINESSES, PARTICULARLY THOSE THAT HAVE INCREASINGLY BECOME KNOWN AS THE ‘FOUNDATIONAL ECONOMY’.
Wigan is home to over 8,600 family owned and other SME businesses. Some had never thought of growing, others didn’t know it was possible.
We’ve actively built aspirations with local business owners, given them access to training and development, supported business planning, encouraged networking, helped build the skills of their workforce and created a supportive business ecosystem that means businesses of all sizes can grow and adapt to change. And this focus on business has attracted people with the skills and ambition to contribute to this continued growth.
This approach helped as part of our Brexit preparations, to ensure we were not just reliant on international businesses and brands to make our borough successful and sustainable.
We have valued – and built – the everyday economy in our borough, and have recognised that skill, craft and great service are as critical as breakthrough concepts and radical innovation.
All businesses, large and small, can be embraced on our journey to growth.