Hotel gets green light

A hotel will rise from the ashes of the Tower Grand (above) shelved proposals
A hotel will rise from the ashes of the Tower Grand (above) shelved proposals

RECESSION-hit Wigan was given a big boost today as plans were unveiled for a major new hotel.

The development has been proposed for the site of what was to have been Tower Grand - the abandoned phase two of the Grand Arcade shopping complex at the bottom of Millgate.

The six-storey building would comprise an 80-bed hotel with associated dining area and car parking with retail use also available.

The news comes only months after plans to build another hotel on the site of the former Wigan police HQ on Harrogate Street were given the green light, sparking renewed optimism of regeneration across the town centre.

Although the new development plans have not yet gone in front of the council’s planning committee and are still in very early stages, news of the application has drawn a positive response.

Deputy leader Coun David Molyneux, said: “Although these are early stages in the process, it is certainly a positive gain that developers are interested in Wigan and the town centre.

“Any development would nicely compliment all the good work that has gone on there including the Life Centre and the Grand Arcade.

“We would warmly welcome the development in that area of town for sure. There have been applications made in the past of course but we are led to believe this time that the developers are serious about building something there, which would be nice.”

The site has long been earmarked for development since it was proposed to be the Tower Grand site, consisting of a hotel, offices and apartments, but had since been shelved due to the current economic climate.

As well as the construction work required, the hotel would create 40 full-time jobs and a further 15 part-time roles.

A spokesman for the Scarborough Development Group that is overseeing the planning application process confirmed that while there have been no firm bids as yet, once the application is accepted, a number of hotel chains are expected to be interested in the site.

Grand Arcade manager, John Sanson, said: “In a general sense, it is very, very positive that there is interest in developing sites in the town centre.

“It will be beneficial to a lot of businesses in the town centre and especially people who are using the Life Centre. Anyone who is using the council offices and needs an overnight stay will have a hotel right in the centre of town to use rather than travelling further afield.

The plans will now be put forward to the council’s planning committee on November 22.