Lisa Nandy, Labour MP for Wigan, has shown her support for a speculative development which was only made possible thanks to a collaborative partnership between the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the only organisation dedicated to supporting the coalfields communities to help themselves, and Wigan Council.

CRT Property Investments Ltd, a subsidiary of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, worked closely with the Council to secure planning permission for a trade counter development on Manchester Road, just east of Wigan Town Centre and has since completed the steelworks to the build.

Marking the occasion Lisa, Deputy leader of Wigan Council and Peter McNestry, Chairman of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, were invited on a tour of the site where the developer explained the proposals to build 5 high-quality commercial units ranging from 3,000sq ft to 4,000sq ft, with a total floor space of 17,500sq ft.

As well as bringing commercial opportunities to the local area, Peter was keen to share the extended impact the development is already having, he said: “This isn’t about putting up buildings in an area that needs them - it is about bringing opportunity to the coalfield communities. We want to give local people the chance to work on these sites, to learn new skills and to develop a trade and that’s exactly what we are doing. The impact that this development will have has already begun.

He adds: “We want to make sure that at every stage we are engaging the community and bringing organisations including local schools and commercial businesses together to learn, use and benefit from the resource that we are able to redirect into the coalfields.”

Lisa Nandy MP said “What’s happening at this site in Wigan is really exciting. The Coalfields Regeneration Trust involve the community throughout the whole process, bringing jobs and skills for local people. Not only will this project bring real benefits for Wigan, it gives us a model for how to bring about lasting change. I am very pleased to show my support for such an innovative approach here in Wigan.”

Deputy leader of Wigan Council, Councillor David Molyneux, welcomed the new development, commenting:  “Our Regeneration Team has worked closely with Coalfields Regeneration Trust to bring these plans to life for the benefit of local residents. This development will bring new employment opportunities to the borough and will encourage future investment, contributing to our regeneration efforts.”  

CRT Property Investments Ltd is a subsidiary of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. Responding to the challenge from Government to become self-financing, the property investment company will provide a return that will continue to allow the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to create programmes that meet with the diverse and complex needs of the communities throughout the UK.

With some 5.5m people living in these areas, and many falling into the 30% most deprived in the country, there is still a lot of work to be done to restore these communities to the thriving villages and towns they once were.