A REGENERATION scheme focused on improving the look of Tyldesley's high street has transformed ten buildings and has just four left to complete.

Attempting to address negative perceptions about Tyldesley and the declining state of Elliott Street, the 'For Tyldesley' group was launched to help revive the town and was successful in acquiring £1.5 million from Historic England.

Although the investment is relatively minor when compared to other regeneration projects, it has succeeded in transforming ten buildings around Elliott Street and has changed opinions of Tyldesley as an "up and coming" town.

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Leigh Journal: Cellar Five is a family bar that has benefitted from the schemeCellar Five is a family bar that has benefitted from the scheme (Image: For Tyldesley)
With Tyldesley one of 68 projects that received funding from Historic England - and only one of two that have been community (not council) led - a condition of the funding was that it would be used to restore high street buildings and celebrate the history and culture of the town.

The project has therefore redesigned Elliott Street as a conservation area and 'Heritage Action Zone', with ten buildings, from cafes and bars to pharmacies and card shops, revived with imaginative new shop fronts.

Leigh Journal: Before and after at Pen to PaperBefore and after at Pen to Paper (Image: For Tyldesley)
So far, this has included Frank's Cafe, Mayhap Coffee, Cellar Five, Pen to Paper, Davina Pharmacy, Action Station charity shop, the Dog's Deli, the local Heritage Action Zone office, and more.

With the project now entering its final six months of delivery, the final four Elliott Street units are scheduled to be revamped, including DG Optical and CJ Roberts, by March 2024.

Leigh Journal: From Wendy's to Action Station charity shopFrom Wendy's to Action Station charity shop (Image: For Tyldesley)
While the investment is dedicated to improving the aesthetic and exterior of high street buildings, it has also encouraged other businesses not included in the scheme to invest in their own shop fronts and buildings.

In turn, this has made Tyldesley a more inviting and welcoming place to visit, and its improved offer of shops, bars, and cafes, has made significant improvements to footfall along the high street - particularly in the night time economy.

As attitudes have begun to change about Tyldesley, it has also sparked a new desire for people to stay and shop local, with Tyldesley and Mosley Common councillor Joanne Marshall saying that Tyldesley is now being seen as an "up-and-coming town".

Following the investment by Historic England, Wigan Council also matched this sum with £1.5 million for the refurbishment of Tyldesley Library, which was agreed to stay at Stanley Street after a campaign from 'Friends of Tyldesley Library'.

Leigh Journal: Ian Tomlinson outside of the Tyldesley Heritage Action Zone officeIan Tomlinson outside of the Tyldesley Heritage Action Zone office (Image: Leigh Journal)
While there have inevitably been challenges with the project through the cost of living crisis, and footfall in the daytime economy is something that can be improved on, Tyldesley is now being viewed as a regeneration example by those outside the borough.

Community engagement manager of the project, Ian Tomlinson, recently visited the Houses of Parliament to discuss the project's progress and challenges, and also delivered a presentation to heritage professionals at a regional conference in Stretford Town Hall.

It is here where Steve Millington, Professor of Place Management at Manchester University, stated: “The For Tyldesley Heritage Action Zone is bang on - ticks all boxes for a community-led high street project.

"[It was] refreshing to hear about the whole journey, successes, set-backs, and lessons learned”.

Leigh Journal: Davina Pharmacy's makeover on Elliott StreetDavina Pharmacy's makeover on Elliott Street (Image: For Tyldesley)

In addition to the revamped shop front scheme, the For Tyldesley team has also worked in partnership with St George's local primary school and Transport for Greater Manchester to create a colourful mosaic on the guided busway as well as helping to organise further murals in the town.

Volunteers also organise community events throughout the year, such as makers' markets, music festivals, and Christmas shows, and hope that the heritage project will encourage further external investment and fulfill Tyldesley's potential in becoming an "up and coming" town.