New hotel an arresting place to stay

The former Police Station building on Harrogate Street, now a Premier Inn
The former Police Station building on Harrogate Street, now a Premier Inn

WIGAN’S newest hotel is now welcoming its very first guests.

Builders have spent the Bank Holiday and last week applying the “snagging” finishing touches to Harrogate Street’s Wigan Central Premier Inn which has totally transformed the former Wigan divisional police station headquarters.

The 83-bedroom hotel, which opened today, has created approximately 35 new jobs.

Premier Inns, a hugely successful part of the Whitbread Inns combine, will be holding an official opening ceremony next month. But a spokesman became coy about whether its public face, comedian Lenny Henry, will perform the honours.

She said: “We will definitely be holding an official opening in June and we are planning a strong event to launch the hotel and welcome local people and businesses to see the finished product.”

Premier Inns beat off a rival scheme to transform the ex-cop shop into student flats to win permission to plough ahead with the scheme.

The building work has included a large extension to the rear of the five-storey building, where the former GMP gymnasium was situated.

Local people have given the facelift something of a thumbs-up. Careful use of new fascia panelling has transformed a stark concrete building renowned for being one of Wigan’s ugliest buildings.

In fact many dubbed it “the Stasi” because its soulless line bought the headquarters of the former East German Mininstry of State Security secret police to mind.

A Premier Inns spokesman said: “We have been looking forward to bringing a new Premier Inn to Wigan and hope that new jobs the hotel will create as well as the visitors that it will bring, will ensure that the Premier Inn will be a welcome new addition to the town. Many of the hotels we have opened over the last few years have had previous uses.

“Whether they were office buildings, town halls, mills or police stations they have all been successfully converted into Premier Inn hotels. Often this provides some of our bedrooms with unusual shapes or sizes. But our customers can still expect everything they have come to know and love about Premier Inn, including our king size beds.”

A number of hotel projects have been and gone in Wigan over recent years.

Before the now defunct Sharpy’s restaurant was opened next to the DW Stadium, Dave Whelan’s initial idea was to turn it into a hotel. And the revamp of the Pier Quarter was to have originally included a hotel near to Pottery Road but never happened.