FORTY seven CCTV cameras are set to be fitted in Leigh town centre in the fight to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

They will be installed after residents asked Wigan Council for investment from its £5m Believe in Leigh Fund to put measures in place to make them feel safe.

The council questioned people on which areas they wanted the investment targeted on and, of the 600 responses received, the overwhelming consensus was that more needed to be done to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime in the town centre and residential areas.

More than £400,000 worth of safety measures and environmental improvements will be funded and will be operational by the end of August.

There will be nine new CCTV columns installed in the coming weeks with each one to have four fixed cameras and one remotely controlled camera.

This means be 45 further cameras monitoring the streets of Leigh.

Four further poles will be installed in the Leigh West ward, which will be used for two re-deployable cameras that can be moved across the columns as appropriate. These cameras are hoped to be operational by the end of May and are in addition to the camera already in situ, which was purchased by Leigh West councillors.

The new network of cameras is in addition to the wide network of existing cameras already in place in the town centre.

Leigh West councillor and BelieveInLeigh board lead, Lord Peter Smith, said: “We asked Leigh residents what they felt needed investment and we have listened.

“It is essential that people coming to the town centre, whether that is through the day or in the evening, feel safe.

“Significant action is now being taken on those concerns and the additional 45 CCTV cameras will create a comprehensive network of cameras in Leigh town centre.

“People who are thinking of committing crime or anti-social behaviour in the centre should be aware they are likely to be seen and that evidence will be passed to police.

“There is a lot of work taking place behind the scenes to ensure the right decisions are being made, and we are liaising with community groups such as Leigh Neighbours and Leigh Residents Association to see how the local community can lead on cohesion for the area.”

The locations of the nine new poles will be in key town centre spots and have been agreed following consultation with partner organisations including Greater Manchester Police, local ward members and community groups.

Leigh Residents’ Association spokesman Dane Anderton said: “It’s great that there is significant progress being made on allocating this welcomed money for Leigh.

"Increased CCTV to help improve town centre safety and opportunities for young people are what Leigh residents asked for and the council has listened to this feedback.

"I have no doubt that the extra CCTV will appease concerns about anti-social behaviour in the area and I look forward to them becoming operational in the summer.”

Funds will also be invested in bright LED lighting, refreshed road markings on Market Place and the refurbishment of benches, guard rails and poles which are due to be completed by the end of the month.

Existing bins in the town centre are also to be replaced with multi-recycling bins that will use smart technology such as fill level sensors and solar technologies.

The town hall has also been working closely with Leigh Youth Voice to develop a young people’s provision in the area.

This follows the announcement of £70,000 being invested in young people’s facilities.

The group is looking into an action plan that will identify "safe zones" in the town centre that will offer a welcoming space for young people to go if they have any concerns or worries.

Lord Smith added: “By engaging with enthusiastic groups, we can ensure this money is used in the most proficient way.

“The idea of safe zones is to address the issues identified among local young people concerning their safety physically, mentally and emotionally.

“Leigh Youth Voice is now hoping to work with businesses in the town centre that have later opening hours that would be willing to lend a hand to young people if they feel threatened or vulnerable by offering them a place to charge their phone or get picked up by a family member.

“We will look to work with our community partners, volunteers and the private sector to deliver this ambition.”

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