Of all the boroughs of Greater Manchester, Wigan is conveniently located between the major cities of Manchester and Liverpool, and this proximity has been a major contributor to Wigan working so well.
Nestled at the heart of the regional motorway network it affords quick and easy access to the rest of the UK via an extensive road network which covers north to south and east to west. Its rail links are exceptional with frequent, direct services to London with a travel time of 2 hours and Manchester and Liverpool can be reached in 30 minutes. These travel times will be further reduced with the arrival of HS2. Wigan is also well located to both Manchester Airport, the busiest airport in the UK outside of the London region and Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Together these airports link the area to the rest of the world. Its location also provides businesses with convenient access to the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal, which handle more than 40 million tonnes of cargo and 15,000 ship movements a year making Wigan the ideal distribution hub for global businesses.
As well as its connectivity, Wigan has an attractive environment with 70% of its 77 sq miles comprising open space. This green landscape is punctuated with historic towns and stunning architecture, stately homes, first class shopping and affordable high-quality housing. When it comes to quality of life, Wigan’s hard to beat. The area provides access to golfing, fishing, sailing and rambling. The area is also home to Wigan Athletic Football Club, winners of the 2013 FA Cup, Wigan Warriors Rugby Club, the most successful Rugby League Club in the world and Leigh Centurions one of the original twenty-two clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895.
With a population of round 318,000 residents Wigan is home to 12% of Greater Manchester’s total population providing access to a skilled and varied work force. Small and medium business enterprises constitute a large proportion of the 12,000 businesses based there. Whilst manufacturing is still a pillar of the local economy, with the food and drink sectors being particularly strong, digital and creative, environment and professional services are all increasing in importance. The largest private sector companies in the area are Heinz, Waterfields, AB World Foods, Hitchens/Bakkavor and Arrow XL. Wigan also has a large number of public sector employers, the most notable being Wigan Council, NHS and Wigan & Leigh College. Businesses located here benefit from next generation broadband with ‘fibre to the premises’ allowing speeds of up to 100 Mbps in a true open access network.
Wigan Council’s Business Engagement Team provide free and independent access to a full range of support services to investors and developers considering a move to the area. A dedicated officer is assigned as a single point of contact providing long term support and continuity, particularly important in terms of relocation though also proving to be useful to employers already established in the borough. Wigan Council offers a free service to align initial business ideas to solutions and advice; including potential funding opportunities that are available to businesses. Wigan has been successful over the years in securing over £100m of external funding to support the growth and prosperity of Wigan. The team will work closely with MIDAS, and Greater Manchester partners, to help businesses at each stage of the application process.
For further information on moving to Wigan, please click here.