Apartments plan for town centre building

Tower Buildings, Wallgate, Wigan
Tower Buildings, Wallgate, Wigan

A disused building in a prominent Wigan town centre location could be set for a makeover as developers aim to create an apartment block.

Council planning officers are considering an application to transform the upper floors of the Tower Buildings on Wallgate into 20 flats and new office units.

The first floor of the site – opposite Wigan North Western station – is a former Masonic hall last used in 2004 with retail units at street level.

The bid, revealed in planning documents submitted to the town hall this week, includes a link bridge to the rear of the Grade II listed building where the retail units will be situated.

The upper floors will be divided into 17 one-bedroom, two two-bedroom apartments and one bedsit.

An application report submitted by Valli Architects reads: “Only the ground floor level of Tower Buildings is occupied by a mixture of commercial retail units. The remainder of the upper floors have become dilapidated and have remained vacant for some time.

“In developing the site (Blackburn based developers H&N Investments) objective is committed to developing an important historic Grade II listed building in a sympathetic manner, whilst introducing a new sustainable use of floor space to combat the problem associated with empty upper floor commercial buildings.

“There are subtle differences between the apartment types allowing residents to choose the layout most suited to their lifestyle and space requirements.”

A series of remedial works were required before the main conversion could take place, the documents state, although the Evening Post understands some of these have already taken place.

The Tower Buildings, at 66 Wallgate, was designated listed building status in 1999 due to its “special historic and architectural importance.”

The new application includes listed building planning consent and officers have set a target decision date of July 7.

The development plan, if it receives the green light from council planners, will continue a trend of restoration works in that particular area of Wallgate.

Earlier this year the site of the Victoria Hotel alongside Wallgate rail station reopened as 12 high-specification contemporary apartments with the ground floor left as a retail unit. Meanwhile the former Poole’s Pies cafe premises, also on Wallgate, has reopened as Marty’s Kitchen.

The plans will also be welcomed by borough law enforcers as one of the large empty properties along Wallgate had been utilised by drug producers in recent years.

Last year three men were jailed for cultivating a £500,000 cannabis farm in an empty property that was raided by police in May.