TYLDESLEY residents Ian Tomlinson and Paul Kinsella jumped at getting the chance to transform their town centre.

Ian’s community transport charity Driven was awarded £1.7m in principle from Heritage England to make improvements to Elliott Street over the next four years.

The friends will be in charge of creating a Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) in which they will set out to bring around six buildings back into use and boost the town’s shopping and social experience.

They will also offer help to the Tyldesley Top Chapel owners.

It is hoped money will also be provided by property owners through match funding.

Leigh Journal:

Ian in a Driven vehicle

Leigh Journal:

Friends Paul and Ian

Dad-of-two Ian, 58, said: “I lived in Astley for 25 years and moved to Tyldesley five years ago.

“I have watched Tyldesley decline over a period of time. A lot of people have been moaning about its states but were not in a position do anything about it.

“Recently though, there have been places opening in the centre which shows people have been trying to make a difference. This gave me the motivation to join them and try to boost the town.

“I have experience of running charities and Paul works in construction so together we put together a sustainable bid.”

Leigh Journal:

READ > Plans approved to build 40 homes on site of former pub

After being told Tyldesley is one of 69 towns in the UK that will benefit from the HAZ scheme, Ian and Paul will need to formulate a plan to present to Heritage England to set out how the money will be spent.

“We want to improve the street scene for everybody of all ages,” said Ian.

“With the town being in a conservation area it brings opportunities and buildings are treated with respect.

“We want there to be more businesses in the town that offer experiences where people have to go into the shops rather than there being items that people can buy online.

“This will also help to improve the footfall in the centre and people from the town can spend their time here and socialise there rather than having to go to Manchester.

“I have worked with youth groups before and I think it is important youth provision is part of the development.

“We have had good support from the Tyldesley Traders Group too.

“I am quite proud about getting the funding for the town but I will only be happy if people are congratulating us in four years time.”

Wigan Council is supporting the project through its community scheme, The Deal as well.

If you are interested in volunteering as a driver for Driven contact 01942 409602.