|Wigan Moves Forward
Members of the Board get ready for business at Wigan Investment Centre this week
“A brand new business every day, a top twenty education authority and rapid connection into the heart of the region – so why do we do ourselves down?”
So says council deputy leader and regeneration champion Cllr David Molyneux. And so, some of the biggest local names in business and public service have come together with a clear agenda to get things done.
“We’ve always worked closely with business to support the economy,” says Cllr Molyneux, “And the Wigan Forward Board is a strong statement from leading figures that we will deliver.”
The Wigan Forward Board came about following discussions last September. Crucial to the success of the project was the involvement of top businesses. Chairing the board is Martin Ainscough, former Chairman of Ainscough Crane Hire Limited, the UK’s largest crane hire company. Wigan Chamber of Commerce President Miranda Barker brings the skills and support of local business large and small, and the chief executive of the PCT and Wigan Council, Joyce Redfearn, brings experience of the new joined-up public sector.
Martin Ainscough says: “The borough has over 11,000 businesses – a superb figure, and our economy is strong. But there are serious obstacles to overcome. 40 per cent of people tell us they don’t feel they belong to a neighbourhood, most of us feel lost between the big cities nearby and, yes, we’ve been full of strategic plans but not delivered on them, just yet.”
The board are passionate that this isn’t a talking shop – it’s a thinktank of the best local talent pledged to move things on and boost the fortunes of the borough. They are paying detailed attention to how to improve transport, as well as issues such as youth facilities and programmes for work.
“So – what are we doing? More together than we ever could alone.” So says Cllr Molyneux. “We’re focussing on what makes us uniquely strong, such as the fact that we’re ‘The Greenspace Location’, with 70 per cent of our land as green open space, plus plenty of brownfield locations available to business. We have an attractive and superbly connected location for new investment as well as somewhere for everyone here to be proud of. We’re challenging the private sector to support and champion Wigan Borough to its own people and to a much wider audience – and I absolutely know they are up to it.”