'Escape room' plans for Wigan town centre

The site of the proposed escape room complex
The site of the proposed escape room complex

A vacant lot in the heart of a struggling Wigan shopping centre could be transformed into an 'escape room' complex under new proposals.

Plans have been submitted to the town hall to transform 34-36 Marketgate in The Galleries, into a five-room escape experience.

Have you tried an escape room?

Have you tried an escape room?

The idea, which has been outlined by “Adrenaline Escape” director Stuart Barton, will see the disused building renovated and reopened as a leisure feature.

Escape rooms are a growing entertainment phenomenon in which individuals or groups are set a series of puzzles and challenges to get out of a room or series of rooms within an allotted time.

There is already a similar centre at a converted mill in Atherton.

Supporting documents submitted to Wigan Council explain the plans in brief

detail, saying: “Our proposal is to utilise the existing space within the unit to create up to five escape room environments, a corporate environment with briefing room and breakout area and set up a coffee shop.

“There are no intentions to undertake any structural or external modifications to the unit, however some internal remodelling would be required under our proposal.”

The unit, which is located in the Galleries shopping centre, is currently used for storage by the complex’ manager. When the mall first opened in the early 1990s it was a cafe.

Floor and room plans reveal that each escape room would have a different design, with photographs suggesting that there could be a prison-themed room, an escape adventure set in a medical science laboratory and one in a torture chamber.

If the proposals are accepted as laid out in the supporting documents, there will be a “control room” on the ground floor, a set of toilets and a children’s play area, while the upper level will hold only one escape room – a coffee shop and a corporate room.

In a recent interview with the Wigan Post, Becca Heron, director of economy and skills at Wigan Council said that the town centre needs to offer something “other than retail” and that the focus should be on more “leisure, food and drink”.

Following the recent application Ms Heron said: “We remain committed to encouraging new businesses to Wigan Borough and this has only intensified since acquiring The Galleries.

“We are pleased to say that many current tenants have also renewed their leases, which is extremely positive.

“We know that people enjoy coming to the town centre and it has become much more of a social space than in previous years.

“We welcome all types of interest in The Galleries, specifically those offering a leisure and social aspect and we look forward to more prospective businesses coming forward.

“Those with an interest in the units can request a pre-application discussion about their proposals.”