FOCUS is being placed on the heritage of Wigan and Leigh so that residents can recognise and celebrate our unique history and conserve our iconic buildings for future generations.

The council has recently adopted its first Historic Environment Strategy, which looks to protect the buildings and histories of our proud industrial heritage, and celebrate this with people of all ages..

Councillor Terry Halliwell, lead member for heritage and building conservation at Wigan Council, said: "It’s my job to ensure that Wigan Borough’s heritage is properly recognised and celebrated and that our unique buildings are conserved for the benefit of everyone.

"The strategy shows our dedication to our Historic Environment from the grand public buildings like Leigh Town Hall and our historic libraries to the surviving fabric of our working heritage from terraced workers houses to mining monuments.

Old industrial buildings and mills across the borough are currently at risk of ruin due to their abandonment and costs of their upkeep.

However, the council suggests that there is potential in these old buildings, which can be modernised into the modern day for new homes, jobs and places of leisure, such as Wigan Pier.

The Historic Environment Strategy has already been used to secure £3.5 million funding from Historic England for Heritage Action Zones on King Street in Wigan and a community led scheme in Tyldesley, called 'For Tyldesley'.

These schemes are aimed to create vibrant town centres and restore their historic fabric to create places where people are proud of their environment and can celebrate their culture, heritage and sport.

Cllr Halliwell added: "We recognise that our historic places are important in giving people a sense of where they come from, their heritage and a sense of pride.

"Over the next few years we will work to better understand and use our unique heritage as a catalyst for investment and regeneration.

"It is important we celebrate our heritage so I urge you to have your say as part of the Big Listening Festival so we can truly understand what is important to you.

"We have a great future in Wigan Borough and one that can be made stronger.

"Through building on the legacy of our past we are aiming to deliver great benefits for Our People, Our Place and Our Future. We can’t wait to see what comes next!"