Chance to breathe new life into Pier

The Orwell at Wigan Pier
The Orwell at Wigan Pier

A trio of iconic buildings at the heart of the Wigan Pier complex are being given their best chance of a reboot in a long time.

Wigan Council has unveiled a six-week tender period for bids to be made to redevelop the edifices, which have stood idle for many years, as part of the council’s flagship regeneration project.

There has been significant interest from developers in the buildings, which flank the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, in the year which marks the 80th anniversary of George Orwell’s landmark book The Road to Wigan Pier.

The erstwhile industrial premises comprise The Warehouse, known locally as the former Way We Were Museum, the one-time Orwell public house, and the Education Centre. They are central to the Wigan Pier Quarter regeneration area and have attracted interest from across the region as a destination for investment and new industries.

The quarter has recently seen the development of the Pier Centre conference centre and performance venue, approved planning permission for a social, arts and café venue in a former industrial building next to the pier and Trencherfield Mill continues to attract interest from major employers as a new headquarters.

The tender process is being overseen by the council in partnership with commercial property agents Lambert Smith Hampton and the Canal & River Trust.

Council director of economy and environment Karl Battersby said: “We are pleased to be now welcoming formal bids to bring the Wigan Pier buildings back into use and regenerate this iconic location.

“There has already been significant interest in the buildings over recent months and we are excited to be starting the formal process of working with private sector partners to make a reality of this unique regeneration opportunity.

“We have had a mix of ideas put forward for the buildings including new office space, leisure and social destinations.

“At the end of the tender period we will review all tenders and choose a preferred partner or partners.”

Simon Turner, director at Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “Wigan Pier is an icon in the North West, and an important part of the history of the region. There is no hiding from the fact that over the past few years the site has started to become a relic of its proud history.”

To support regeneration opportunities the council has invested in new car parking facilities, created a community garden, is continuing to market and develop business at Trencherfield Mill and has hosted a major business event to showcase the Pier Quarter and its opportunities. The window for bids to be made closes on Friday 23 June. For details contact Lambert Smith Hampton on 0161 228 6411.