Arches could become new bar and restaurant scene

General view of the archeunder the tracks near Wigan North Western train station, Queen Street
General view of the archeunder the tracks near Wigan North Western train station, Queen Street

A trio of disused Wigan railway arches could be transformed into a row of bars and restaurants if a planning bid is given the green light.

Network Rail has submitted plans to the town hall relating to premises on Queen Street adjacent to the popular Wigan Central drinking venue.

The application is for the current vacant spaces to be given restaurant, cafe and bar usage status, paving the way for a major refurbishment project.

Documents submitted to council officers state arches three and four in the row previously let to “Remguard Limited for use as a central alarm monitoring station.”

Meanwhile, arch five was previously occupied by “Eclipse Kitchens and Bedrooms Limited for the storage, assembly and sale of kitchens.”

Units one and two are already in use as the home of Wigan Central, a micro-pub under the umbrella of borough real ale producer Prospect Brewery.

Although at the start of what potentially could be a lengthy process, the regeneration of the arches underneath Wigan North Western (WNW) station could dovetail with pre-existing development plans.

Council and regional transport bosses are hoping to kick-start better connectivity between WNW and nearby Wallgate stations especially with the town being earmarked as part of a HS2 route.

In addition, the town hall also plans to develop the Wigan Pier quarter, also connecting to the town’s two stations and the soon-to-be refurbished bus station, a project spearheaded by Transport for Greater Manchester.

Network Rail has in recent months had to push forward with its own restoration plans close to the arches related to this application following part of the structure underneath WNW collapsing last year.

The bridge was closed off in December when a disused subway section gave way bringing bricks, soil and sheets of corrugated metal crashing down on to parked cars.

The structure has since been shored up. Council officers have set a decision target date for the application of July 28.

A neighbourhood consultation period comes to an end later this month, the documents reveal.

A decision on whether to grant the change of usage status may be made by officers unless the bid is called in by a councillor. In which case, the issue will go before the planning committee later in the year.