A NEW strategy aimed at protecting the borough’s heritage sites and using them to guide regeneration will be adopted following a public consultation.

The Historic Environment Strategy (HES) was approved at a meeting of Wigan’s Council’s cabinet members this week.

It is the first of its kind in the borough and looks at how public and privately owned locations can be preserved, enhanced and play a key role in regeneration plans for local communities.

It also sets out expectations for building owners and tenants and outlines the council’s top priorities for preserving the borough’s rich heritage.

Cllr Terry Halliwell, the council’s heritage champion, said: “We all have a responsibility to protect this borough’s heritage for future generations and the HES ensures that will happen.

“We had an overwhelmingly positive response in our public consultation which generated more than 440 responses with 95% of those saying they are on board with our vision.

“This is not just about protecting fine architecture and grand buildings; it is much more than that. We want to cherish our local designs, our ancient street patterns and maintain the vistas and views of our town centres and distinct communities that make them special to each one of us.

“We know we will face challenges, not least in securing investment and finding financially viable uses for buildings, but by working across all sectors we believe we can find creative and meaningful solutions.”

The strategy will also link with regeneration initiatives already underway at the council, which includes the regeneration of Leigh town centre and the community-led HAZ in Tyldesley.

Cllr Halliwell, who is also cabinet member for housing and welfare, added: “Our intention for this strategy is to raise awareness of our fantastic historic environment, promote good management and inform our priorities for action.

“Our shared history is told through the historic environment; it has shaped our personal experiences and it will continue to shape our future.”

A six week consultation on the draft strategy was held in October and November last year and a process of ongoing engagement with local heritage groups has started.