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Wigan (borough)

For the main settlement, see Wigan.
Borough of Wigan
Metropolitan borough

Wigan Civic Centre
Coat of Arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan Council
Motto: "Progress With Unity"

Wigan shown within Greater Manchester

Coordinates: 53°32′N 2°37′W / 53.533°N 2.617°W / 53.533; -2.617Coordinates: 53°32′N 2°37′W / 53.533°N 2.617°W / 53.533; -2.617

Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region North West England
Ceremonial county Greater Manchester
Admin HQ Wigan (Civic Centre)
Founded 1 April 1974
Government
 • Type Metropolitan borough
 • Governing body Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council
 • Mayor of Wigan Cllr Billy Rotherham (Labour)
 • MP's: Andy Burnham (L)
Julie Hilling (L)
Lisa Nandy (L)
Yvonne Fovargue (L)
Area
 • Total 72.66 sq mi (188.19 km2)
Population (Template:English statistics year)
 • Total 318,100 (Ranked 21st)
 • Ethnicity
(United Kingdom estimate 2005)[1]
97.5% White
1.1% S. Asian or mixed
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
Postcode areas WN1-7, M28,M29,M46, WA3
Area code(s) 01942 /01695/ 0161 / 01257
ISO 3166-2 GB-WGN
ONS code 00BW (ONS)
E08000010 (GSS)
OS grid reference NUTS 3 UKD32
Website www.wigan.gov.uk

The Metropolitan Borough of Wigan is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, in North West England. It is named after its largest component town, Wigan and includes the towns and villages of Leigh, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Ince-in-Makerfield, Hindley, Orrell, Standish, Atherton, Tyldesley, Golborne, Lowton, Higher End, Astley, Haigh and Aspull. The borough was formed in 1974 and is an amalgamation of several former local government districts and parishes. The borough has three civil parishes and lies directly to the west of the City of Salford and southwest of the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton.

History

Wigan metropolitan borough was created on 1 April 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972. It was formed from the former county borough of Wigan along with other local government units from the administrative county of Lancashire.[2][3] These were the Municipal Borough of Leigh, the urban districts of Abram, Aspull, Atherton, Hindley, Ince-in-Makerfield, Orrell, Standish and Tyldesley. Ashton-in-Makerfield, the Golborne Urban District except for the parish of Culcheth and Glazebury in Warrington, the Higher End part of Billinge and Winstanley Urban District and the civil parishes of Haigh, Shevington and Worthington from the Wigan Rural District were included.

Before its creation, the name Wigan-Leigh was used in the Redcliffe-Maud Report. It was suggested that the new metropolitan borough be named Makerfield. However both names were rejected by a vote of 12 to 2.[4] According to an opinion poll in 2003, 26% of 299 residents surveyed felt they belonged "very strongly" or "fairly strongly" (4% very strongly) to Greater Manchester, 64% (28% very strongly) to the borough of Wigan, and 63% (31% very strongly) to Lancashire.[5]

The metropolitan borough was created from a highly industrialised area of Lancashire that was part of the Lancashire Coalfield and had an important textile industry.

Geography

Wigan borough covers an area of 77 square miles (200 km2) and is the 9th largest metropolitan borough, out of 36, in England. The borough is the most north western in Greater Manchester. Within Greater Manchester, it borders the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton to the north-east and east, and the City of Salford to the east. Outwith Greater Manchester, in the south it borders Warrington (a unitary authority in Cheshire); to the south-west it borders the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens in Merseyside. To the west it borders the West Lancashire borough, and to the north it borders the Chorley borough, both in Lancashire.

Wigan has four Local Nature Reserves: Borsdane Wood between Hindley and Aspull, Orrell Water Park in Orrell, Wigan Flashes and Low Hall Park at Platt Bridge[6] as well as the 250 acre Haigh Country Park.

Governance

Local government

See also: Mayor of Wigan and Mayoress of Wigan

For 12 years after the county was created in 1974, the borough had a two-tier system of local government, and Wigan Council shared power with the Greater Manchester County Council. The county council was abolished in 1986 by the Local Government Act 1985. In April 2011 the Greater Manchester Combined Authority became the top tier of local government within Greater Manchester covering ten boroughs including Wigan.

The first elections to the borough council were held on 10 May 1973.[7] The Metropolitan Borough Council is divided into 25 wards, each of which elects three councillors. Elections are by third, with one councillor from each ward up for re-election in each election year.[2] The borough council has a leader and cabinet system. The current leader is Peter Smith, who sits in the House of Lords as a Labour Party life peer with the title, Lord Smith of Leigh. He became leader in 1991.[8] The council rejected the idea of a directly-elected mayor following a consultation in 2001.[9]

The Metropolitan Borough of Wigan is traditionally a Labour stronghold - the council has been Labour Party-controlled since its creation.[10] The local elections in 1998 resulted in a council with only 2 non-Labour members.

Labour had a majority with 43 seats at the 2006 election. The second largest party was the local Community Action Party which had 15 seats. Community Action first contested Wigan elections in 2002, and won 18 seats in the 2004 election following the re-warding - their councilors are for wards in the middle of the borough, between Wigan and Leigh. The Conservative Party had nine seats, and the Liberal Democrats eight.[10][11]

At the 2008 elections Labour was the largest party with 41 seats out of a total of 75, the Conservative Party had 14 seats, Community Action Party 8 seats, Independent 7 seats, Liberal Democrats 4 seats and one was vacant.[12]

As of November 2010 (after May elections), Labour was the largest party with 51 seats out of a total of 75, the Conservative Party had 8 seats, 7 Independent, Community Action Party 4 seats and Liberal Democrats seats (1 member currently suspended)[13] and the 'Independent Conservative' members with 2 seats.

As of June 2011 (after May elections), Labour continued to be the largest party with 58 seats out of 75, the Independent Councillor group with 8 seats form the official opposition, the Conservative Party had 5 seats, the Liberal Democrats hold 2 seats, Community Action Party 1 seat and 1 Independent councillor.[14]

The council uses Wigan Town Hall as its main headquarters.[15] Leigh Town Hall is used as a secondary base.[16]

As of 4 May 2012 (post 2012 Local Elections) the composition of the council is Labour 63 (+5), Others 9 (-1), Liberal Democrats 2 (No change)and Conservatives 1 ( -4).

Townships and wards

The borough is divided into 25 electoral wards, each of which elect three councillors. The present wards were adopted in 2003, following a review by the Boundary Commission, the previous review took place in 1979. The borough was formerly divided in 24 wards.[17][18] Wigan Council has divided the borough into ten areas by the name of townships, with a Township Manager and a Township Forum each.[19]

Townships Wards
Ashton-in-Makerfield / Bryn Ashton; Bryn
Atherton Atherton
Hindley / Abram Abram; Hindley; Hindley Green
Leigh Atherleigh; Leigh North; Leigh South; Leigh West
Lowton / Golborne Golborne and Lowton West; Lowton East
Orrell / Higher End / Winstanley Orrell; Winstanley;
Standish / Aspull / Shevington Aspull-New Springs-Whelley; Shevington with Lower Ground; Standish with Langtree
Tyldesley / Astley Astley-Mosley Common; Tyldesley
Wigan North Ince-in-Makerfield; Wigan Central; Wigan West
Wigan South Douglas; Pemberton; Worsley Mesnes

Parishes

The borough has three civil parishes: Haigh, Shevington and Worthington. The rest of the borough is an unparished area. Ecclesiastical parishes in the west of the borough are part of the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool, Anglican parishes in the east of the Metropolitan Borough are part of the Diocese of Manchester and the northern section part of the Diocese of Blackburn.

Parliamentary

The Wigan Metropolitan Borough is currently covered by four parliamentary constituencies, Wigan, Makerfield, Leigh, and Bolton West.(Atherton is the only Wigan ward included in Bolton West, with the rest of the constituency made up of districts from Bolton Borough). New constituency boundaries recommended by the Boundary Commission for the 2010 UK election saw the link to Salford broken by the removal of Wigan areas from the Worsley constituency. This resulted in the Worsley constituency wards of Tyldesley and Astley-Mosley Common being placed in the Leigh Constituency with the Atherton ward becoming part of Bolton West.[20] Makerfield is the only constituency to have returned Labour MPs continuously since 1906.[21]

Coat of arms

Wigan Metropolitan Borough's new coat of arms is based on various elements from the arms of the predecessor districts.

Demography

With a population of around 300,000, Wigan is the second most populous borough of Greater Manchester, after Manchester. It has one of the lowest ethnic minority populations, with the 2001 census reporting 98.7% of the population as white. Unemployment is around the average for England and Wales. Approximately 9.5% of the population was recorded as being permanently sick or disabled compared to a national average of 5.5%.[22]

Population change

The table details the population change since 1801, including the percentage change since the last available census data. Although the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan has existed since 1974, figures have been generated by combining data from the towns, villages, and civil parishes that became constituent parts of the borough.

Population growth in Wigan since 1801
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 41,413 50,464 60,760 69,400 78,349 93,271 120,001 146,732 173,462 212,665 239,399 269,503 267,754 266,040 266,436 266,839 284,309 302,929 307,721 310,866 301,415
 % change +21.9 +20.4 +14.2 +12.9 +19.0 +28.7 +22.3 +18.2 +22.6 +12.6 +12.6 −0.6 −0.6 +0.1 +0.2 +6.5 +6.5 +1.6 +1.0 −3.0
Source: Vision of Britain[23]

The population of the borough has remained roughly static since the 1970s at around 300,000, second to Manchester within Greater Manchester.[24]

The ONS identify the Wigan Urban Area as the western part of the district and Skelmersdale and Upholland in West Lancashire, with a population of 166,840. It considers the east of the borough, Hindley, Leigh, Astley, Atherton and Tyldesley to be part of the Greater Manchester Urban Area. Ashton-in-Makerfield, Aspull, Golborne and Shevington are identified as standalone urban areas. However the entirety of the borough forms part of the Manchester Larger Urban Zone[25]

Transport

Public transport in Wigan MBC is co-ordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). The borough is served by an extensive bus network with most services operated by Stagecoach Manchester, Arriva North West First Greater Manchester and South Lancs Travel. Wigan town centre is the main hub of the bus network with a large bus station. Leigh is a secondary hub also with a bus station. Services operate from the bus stations to Bolton, Manchester, The Trafford Centre, St Helens and Chorley, as well as local inter-urban routes, with three high frequency services between Wigan and Leigh bus stations, operated by Stagecoach Manchester.

Several railway lines cross the borough. Wigan Wallgate railway station is served by Northern trains on the Manchester to Southport and Kirkby lines. There are services to stations towards Manchester, serving all city centre stations including Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly via two routes: one through Bolton and one via Atherton, with connections to other local and national destinations.[26] Wigan North Western railway station is on the West Coast Mainline served by Northern and Virgin Trains. There are services to Liverpool Lime Street, Blackpool North, London Euston, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.[27] Other stations in the borough are Atherton, Hag Fold, Bryn, Gathurst, Hindley, Ince, Orrell, and Pemberton. Appley Bridge railway station just outside the border with West Lancashire is managed by TfGM and serves the far north-western part of the borough. There is a campaign for Golborne railway station to be re-opened.

Leigh is one of the largest towns in the UK without a railway station. Westleigh station, on the Bolton and Leigh Railway, closed in 1954.[28] Leigh and Tyldesley stations on the Tyldesley Loopline were closed in 1969.[29] There are proposals to use the line of the railway via Tyldesley towards Manchester as a guided busway[30] but this not universally popular.[31]

The Leeds and Liverpool and Bridgewater canals meet in Leigh town centre. The M6 motorway crosses the west of the borough, and serves Ashton-in-Makerfield at junctions 23 and 24 (north only) and 25 (south only), Wigan at junction 25 (south only), Wigan/Orrell at junction 26 and Standish junction 27. The M58 motorway, to Liverpool, terminates at junction 26 of the M6 near Orrell. The dual carriageway A580 East Lancashire Road linking Liverpool to Manchester crosses the south of the borough.

Twinning

The Metropolitan Borough of Wigan has one twin town in France.[32]

Country Place County / District / Region / State Originally twinned with Date
France France Angers Pays de la Loire Metropolitan Borough of Wigan 1988

See also

Greater Manchester portal

References

Notes

Bibliography

External links

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