A NEW era is on the horizon for the Turnpike Centre in Leigh

From the start of 2022, responsibility for the gallery and exhibition spaces at the venue will transfer to Wigan Council.

The move comes as the Turnpike Community Interest Company (CIC) – which has successfully run the facility since 2017 – opts to disband.

It means the council’s arts and culture operation will now take the lead at the centre, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary year.

Cllr Chris Ready, culture cabinet member, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to build on all of the recent successes spearheaded by Helen Stalker and her team.

“On behalf of everyone at Wigan Council, I would like to thank Helen and her staff for the amazing job they have done and we now look forward to continuing the programme of works already in place.

“Our cultural sector...is advancing at great pace under the umbrella of The Fire Within and the Turnpike will remain one of our flagship locations.”

The Turnpike CIC adopted the day-to-day operations of the gallery and exhibition spaces in 2017 and, working alongside the council and cultural partners, has delivered a programme of art projects that have received national recognition.

Remaining staff members at the CIC will now transfer over to the local authority in the New Year.

The Turnpike building, one of the Leigh’s most iconic structures, in the Brutalist style, celebrates its 50th anniversary year for the next 12 months.

Earlier this year, Wigan Council completed a renovation project at the site, which also houses the Leigh Life Centre, to help make its facilities more accessible.

Cllr Ready added: “It is an important year for the Turnpike Centre and for Leigh in general, with the arrival of the Rugby League World Cup and UEFA Women’s Euros and major developments in the town also on the timeline.

“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to continue to show how having arts and culture so visible within our communities can help to transform lives.”