The north west of England is set to become a major European centre for trade with China after ambitious plans for a £125million textile manufacturing hub were unveiled this week.
Wigan Council’s ruling cabinet will tomorrow formally agree to sell a 55-acre site at Westwood Park, just a mile south of the town centre, for a development which it is says will “put the town on the international business map”.
Dubbed ‘Chinagateway’, the one million square foot development will be similar to one in Dubai. It will create the largest clothing and textile industry centre in Europe – a ‘textile city’ that will be home to a large number of Chinese companies trading with the UK and Europe.
It is expected to create at least 1,000 jobs plus a further 3,000 in spin-off industries. An international quality hotel for exhibition delegates and buyers visiting Wigan will also be built, along with a direct link from the site to the A49 and M6.
Thursday’s deal follows more than two years of discussions between Wigan Council, Chinamex (the official trading platform of the Chinese government) and Commercial Group Properties PLC, one of the fastest growing property companies in the UK.
It is supported by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles, which has a membership of over 6,300 Chinese textile companies through its links with Chinamex.
Wigan Council Leader Peter Smith said: “The Prime Minister says he wants the UK to be the prime location in Europe for inward Chinese investment. In Wigan we are about to make that ambition a reality.
“The strength and dynamism of the world’s fastest growing economy is being transplanted into the heart of North West England, and Wigan is ideally positioned to reap the benefit for the wider region.