A NEIGHBOURHOOD forum has been formally approved for Leigh town centre, which will form as part of the plans for its proposed regeneration.

Formally designated by Wigan Council on Tuesday, May 3, the Leigh Central Forum will give decision-making powers back to the local community to see what they want to see invested in the town centre.

Alongside the council's Strategic Framework and £20m Levelling Up bid, the forum is designed to get the community involved in the town's sustainable development project.

Residents and businesses inside the Forum boundary are able to contribute towards a Neighbourhood plan, where people can offer suggestions for any planning applications, town centre improvements or how to fill vacant buildings.

Leigh Journal: The forum will ask people for suggestions how to fill empty shops in the town centreThe forum will ask people for suggestions how to fill empty shops in the town centre

The Neighbourhood Forum project is only the second of its kind to be approved across Greater Manchester, with Altrincham successfully using its Forum and funding to attract more people, businesses, and private investment into the town. 

At the time of their forum and regeneration plans in 2010, Altrincham had around 30% vacancy rate for commercial buildings, which is the same as Leigh at the present.

After their successful investment, the vacancy rate in Altrincham now stands at 7%. 

Leigh Journal: The boundary zone for boundary zone for Leigh's Neighbourhood Planning ForumThe boundary zone for boundary zone for Leigh's Neighbourhood Planning Forum

Chairman of Leigh Central Forum, Trevor Barton MBE, said: “This marks a turning point for Leigh’s future and this is the start of something big for our community. The Neighbourhood Plan will renew businesses' confidence and will help to fill the vacant buildings.

“There is a real opportunity to see our town thrive as much as those who can remember what it was like back in its heyday.

"This is our opportunity to put in place planning policies that will drive regeneration in Leigh and help to deliver an ambitious vision for Leigh to be the best it could possibly be!”.