I'm originally form the North East and have lived in Wigan for 12 years now and I think it's great place to live. The people are friendly, there's been plenty of investment in the town, it has good commuter links, West Coast rail line runs through Wigan which makes London/Glasgow accessible in a few hours.
The pro's are:
Good housing (private) supply, the town had huge investment from house builders, most being bought by buy to let wannabe landlords but there's plenty of newish housing for sale.
Plenty of good areas, most towns have some not so nice areas, Wigan's no different, but in the main, Wigan has plenty of nice suburbs, mainly on outskirts.
Good schools, loads of good schools in town.
Plenty of leisure facilities (except pools), lots of shops, lots of walks, parks, canals etc for the outdoor type.
Reasonably decent council, seem to want to make Wigan a better place and like any council can railroad their plans into place if they want, not exclusive to Wigan though.
If you need to get around Wigan by car think carefully as to where you want to settle. The traffic in the tow centre is dire, at peak times the arterial routes are choked up and whether you come in from the M6,M58, M61 or East Lancs you'll come across traffic issues. The council have had a 'central bypass' on the cards for decades but is continuously shelved.
Parking in town centre is a pain, you can't park anywhere for free, unless you have a disabled badge, then you're welcome to park in pay and display bays all day long for free, then the council recoup that lost revenue by ticketing everyone else for sill little things that discretion would take care of elsewhere
High House prices in nice areas. It's astonishing how much the agents in Wigan can get for for a house in Standish over an identical house in Platt Bridge!
Other than that not much.
St Helens is worth considering, certainly hasn't seen the growth Wigan has but again the people are friendly, the traffic at peak time is navigable and there's plenty of choice.
Answered on Jul 5 2009,