Huge Wigan Pier mills regeneration plan unveiled

Plans to turn historic Wigan mills into a "world class venue" are back on the table after new owners were unveiled.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 12:40 pm
Eckersley Mills as they are now

For years the massive Eckersley Mills site at the Pier has been a shadow of its former Victorian self.

Some parts had fallen into such desrepair that the council last year had to force the then owner Maryland Securities to demolish them, and many other sections are currently uninhabitable.

But Heaton Group has today (January 12) announced that it has taken over ownership of the complex and has ambitions to restore it and make it a centre for residential, business and leisure excellence.

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Many parts of the mills are unused

Such a blueprint has been ventured by Manchester-based Maryland before, but has failed to materialise.

However it is clear that Heaton Group, which has a track record in restoration projects and has already spent £30m locally on the Victoria Hotel and Bridgeman Terrace, sees new opportunities in the Pier quarter as the canalside project by Step Places nears its completion this summer.

The Group will now work on plans to transform the site into a "brand new destination for the town, retaining and restoring as much of the history and character as possible, whilst providing world class amenities for people to live, work and play."

It says it hopes to retain the businesses and tenants that are currently based at Eckersley Mills and will work with them to understand their business needs.

Wigan Council had to force former owner Maryland Securities to demolish part of the premises last year because they had fallen into a dangerously poor state

Bosses, who actually took over Eckersley Mills last October but only confirmed ownership this week, say that plans will be revealed in due course but the Group has confirmed teams are already working on commercial, residential and retail plans for the Grade II listed buildings and the site.

They say plans will "complement and enhance" other regeneration projects in the area, including the Wigan Pier development, and create even more local jobs. The scheme "will further establish Wigan’s regional reputation and attract more visitors to the town and potential further investment," they say.

The Heaton Group says that of all its restoration projects, Eckersley Mill will be "the jewel in the Group’s crown".

Managing director John Heaton said: “We are excited to have acquired this fantastic site in an amazing location with so much potential.

Eckersley Mills cotton looms back in the 1980s

"It will be an honour to create a new chapter for Eckersley Mill and as a proud Wiganer I can’t wait to bring something hugely special to my home town.

"Maryland Securities, having recognised the regeneration potential of this key site, obtained the planning consent for a major scheme of circa one million square feet square feet and we are delighted now to take over the regeneration proposals of this important industrial heritage site in Wigan."

The Heaton Group is working with urban design specialists, Studio KMA and heritage specialist planning consultancy, PBA, to kick off the programme.

Understanding the importance and value of Eckersley Mill to the local area, The Heaton Group says it will work with local residents and businesses when creating their vision for the development and share plans for the site at the earliest opportunity.

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