LEIGH'S multi-million pound regeneration pot has been welcomed by the two people who will challenge for the town's Parliamentary seat at the next General Election - albeit with frustration on both sides.

On Monday, November 20, the government announced a £1billion boost for 55 'ready to deliver' projects that had previously failed in their Levelling Up bids.

After the disappointment and frustration surrounding Leigh's £11.4m failed bid in January, this means that those projects put forward by the council will now come to fruition and expected to be completed by May 2026.

READ > 'Paul will not be forgotten': Family pay tribute after death of beloved dad

Leigh Journal: A revamped Civic Square is part of the regeneration plansA revamped Civic Square is part of the regeneration plans (Image: Wigan Council)

The £11.4m Levelling Up bid for Leigh included improvements to Civic Square, revamping of high street shop fronts, and the refurbishment of Leigh Market.

With the bid ultimately unsuccessful, MP James Grundy blamed the council for an "inadequate" bid that was not for the full £20m available.

The council suggested that the bid failed because it did not have the support of the town's MP, and that the projects were put forward to have the best chance of securing funding.

Leigh Journal: Revamped shop fronts are another part of the schemeRevamped shop fronts are another part of the scheme (Image: Wigan Council)
With the government now awarding Wigan Council £11.4m for the regeneration projects put forward, former Leigh MP Jo Platt said that this money could have already been spent on getting the projects started and making improvements to Leigh.

Jo Platt, who is the Labour candidate for the next General Election, said: "This is good news for Leigh town centre, with the Government finally recognising the council's bid as high quality and a ‘ready to deliver’ project of improvements for Leigh.

"This is much-needed investment that will go a long way to improving our town centre, attracting new investment and new businesses.

"Though it's welcome news, it is also incredibly frustrating, as this project, and the improvements it will bring, could already be well under way.

"However, and more importantly, can we please lose the term ‘levelling up’? This is not levelling up!

"If The Conservatives and our MP, James Grundy want meaningful change for the people that live here, then where are the long term plans and reforms to ensure that people have a secure place to live? When will our health needs be sufficiently looked after - cutting waiting lists and A&E wait times? Why aren’t our kids being taught for the jobs of the future?

"The sooner we have a General Election, the better, because it’s clear that The Conservatives really don’t care about Leigh and Atherton."

Leigh Journal: Leigh Market will also be refurbished under the plansLeigh Market will also be refurbished under the plans (Image: Wigan Council)
Previously commenting on the funding pot, Leigh MP James Grundy also welcomed the investment but aired frustration that the £20m from previous Levelling Up rounds has not been granted.

James Grundy MP said: “While I am delighted to hear that the Government have awarded £11,389,554 of the Levelling Up Fund to Leigh, I am disappointed that a third round of bidding has not gone ahead to allow the case to be made to resubmit an updated bid for the full £20 million available.

“I welcome, however, that the fund has been successful this year and that should the council confirm that the proposals in the bid are still deliverable, Leigh will benefit from the Levelling Up Fund.

“I am hopeful that concerns over the challenges in implementing these projects with the new fund can be addressed in advance and in a way that works best for local people, businesses and market traders.”

Adding to the Levelling Up news, Councillor David Molyneux MBE, Leader of Wigan Council, said: “We have always had confidence in our submission for Leigh town centre and, while we were extremely disappointed to miss out earlier this year, we’re pleased the government has now recognised the value of this investment in our community.

“This funding will accelerate our bold and ambitious plans for Leigh, as set out in our Strategic Regeneration Framework which was informed by extensive consultation with local people.

“Our aim is to create a vibrant town centre, one that preserves our town’s proud past and embraces the opportunities of the future, bringing major benefits for residents and our valued local businesses.

“Although today’s announcement is welcome news, we retain our concerns about the levelling-up process and this investment remains a drop in the ocean compared with the extent of local government budget cuts over the past decade.

“We also await further detail as to what this means for the government’s recent announcement about planned investment as part of its Long-Term Plan for Towns.”