Millions lost due to empty business units

Trencherfield Mill
Trencherfield Mill

Empty commercial space in the borough is costing the town hall at least £6.3m a year in lost rent fees.

A recent Freedom of Information request has revealed that there are currently 59 vacant areas and buildings in the borough with a rateable value of more than £45,000 a year.

Empty units in The Galleries

Empty units in The Galleries

The range of rents that could be recuperated from the buildings starts at £45,000 for a space in Stone Cross Park in Golborne to as much as £405,000 per year at Leigh Commerce Park on Greenfold Way.

Emma Barton, Wigan Council’s assistant director for economy and regeneration, said: “Wigan’s economy is performing extremely strongly currently with employment levels being above both the national and regional average and interest high among businesses wanting to locate to the borough.”

Amid the empty properties are spaces at Trencherfield Mill, which has recently been advertised to developers as part of a regeneration scheme at the Pier Quarter.

There are currently five suites at the mill, which is also home to the borough’s only working steam engine.

The total vacant space would accrue £439,500 a year for the council.

Ms Barton added: “As with all areas Wigan borough has fluctuation in ownership of commercial property with properties being empty for a variety of reasons.

“We promote our commercial property offer on a regional and national basis and we are always looking at what the market wants in order to provide attractive commercial property propositions.

“The council’s Deal for the Future strategy and our WiganWorks: Economic Prospectus sets out our targets for significant growth in the local economy over the next decade and having an attractive commercial property offer is an important part of achieving that growth.”

The figures have been released just weeks after the council announced that a number of “excellent and varied bids” have gone in for the Trencherfield Mill space.

Discussions are still ongoing as the council decide which businesses will be best suited to occupy the space and remarket the area.

Areas which also have multiple vacancies include the Galleries, Market Street, Standishgate and the Marketgate Centre.

Recently Wigan Council launched a £500,000 boost to support small businesses and start-ups in Wigan, Leigh and Ashton town centres. Companies will be able to access loans of up to £10,000 and grants of up to £2,000 in exchange for which they will sign up to The Deal to pledge their commitment to supporting the local community.

This would be through employing apprentices, offering local companies the opportunity to be suppliers, paying business rates on time and volunteering in the local community.

In return the authority will offer business support, access to financial support packages and programmes, advice on staff development, health and wellbeing, and employment and recruitment.

A further Business Deal fund and package of support has been allocated to attract firms looking to relocate to the borough, enabling it to boost employment and reduce the number of people in the borough on benefits.