Intriguing plans for a multi-leisure destination have been revealed for the regeneration of Wigan Pier.
Step Places has been chosen by Wigan Council, in partnership with the Canal and River Trust, to take forward a “world class vision” to transform the historic Wigan Pier Quarter into a striking modern destination.
The plans to turn the currently derelict 18th century industrial buildings into a mixed-use leisure destination will be a catalyst for wider development in the area.
Wigan Pier is an historic site on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in central Wigan.
But exactly what that could entail is open to conjecture at present for at this stage no-one is specifying what kind of leisure activities the developers have in mind beyond “arts, culture and events.”
The Pier was originally a coal loading jetty for barges which became famous through a music hall joke by George Formby Snr and its figuring in the title of Orwell’s graphic description of the working class’s plight in the early 20th century, The Road to Wigan Pier.
In 2014 Wigan Council announced the start of a 10-year regeneration programme to create a New Road to Wigan Pier.
The three former industrial buildings to be transformed are The Warehouse, The Orwell public house,and the Education Centre. The development partner Step Places is a rebrand of the FirstStep group, well known across the North West for regeneration schemes.
The council and Step Places are now working through the legal transfer of the buildings following the announcing of the appointment of chosen development partner.
Harinder Dhaliwal of Step Places said: “Our proposals will see the buildings become a multi-functional leisure venue promoting arts, culture and events.
“We are truly excited to be part of a partnership delivering such a world class venue and bringing life back to Wigan Pier respecting its past and heritage and looking forward to the future of significant buildings of such local and national importance.”
The wider Wigan Pier Quarter has recently undergone a renaissance with the development of the Pier Centre conference centre and performance venue.
Authority deputy leader Coun David Molyneux said: “Wigan Pier is one the most iconic locations in the North West.
“We have had long-held ambitions to create a new purpose for Wigan Pier as a destination and leisure attraction.
“Step Places’ vision for the Pier was, from the outset, extremely impressive and fulfilled everything that we hoped Wigan Pier would become.
“We are now in a position to share this vision and the real work starts now.
“We will support Step Places throughout the process and look forward to their plans being realised and Wigan Pier become a popular destination for people in the borough and beyond once again.”
Ian Sprott, from the Canal and River Trust, said: “Wigan Pier is an important part of the history of Wigan and the wider region.
“The Canal and River Trust is proud to have been a partner in securing a new future for the Wigan Pier Quarter and we are excited by the developer’s vision for the area.”
For inquiries visit: www.wigan-pier.com