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Wigan's new chief vows to continue 'amazing legacy'

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The deputy chief executive of Wigan MBC has been chosen to take over from her boss Donna Hall and has vowed to carry on her “amazing legacy”.

Alison McKenzie-Folan will take over from Ms Hall, who has been Wigan chief executive for eight years and retires at the end of January, after the council opted to appoint internally.

Ms McKenzie-Folan told LGC she had landed the “best job in local government” and vowed to continue the Wigan Deal and build on its achievements.

She said: “Donna has created an amazing legacy and it has been amazing working with her. She has been my inspiration and I will carry on that legacy.

“It has been ground breaking in terms of public services reform and changing the [council’s] relationship with residents and partners.”

Wigan has recently conducted a widespread consultation with residents on priorities for the ‘Deal 2030’.

Ms McKenzie said the results will form the basis of ambitious plans to boost the local economy, improve opportunities for young people and encourage a greater use of green spaces.

She added the council will examine different investment models to improve leisure facilities, housing and infrastructure.

“There will be an emphasis on town centres as a focus for economic growth. It is a priority for our residents and we will see how we can support that,” Ms McKenzie-Folan said.

“We want to be bold and ambitious about the towns we have. We are looking at how we can invest as a council and what the pot of money can look like, but it is also about how we work with the private sector in different arrangements.”

She added uncertainties around Brexit, the fair funding review and business rates reform were a significant challenge. 

Ms McKenzie-Folan also said Wigan would join other councils in Greater Manchester to make the case for further devolution on transport, housing, infrastructure, schools and population health.

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