New jobs rising from ashes of blaze

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HUNDREDS of new jobs look set to come to Wigan after an industrial estate was bought by a major property developer.

In what is believed to be the largest purchase in the North West in the last 12 months, Legal and General Property (LGP) has bought a 31-acre site at the South Lancashire Industrial Estate, near Wigan.

LGP will now submit planning applications for two warehouses where the Georgia Pacific building once stood.

That warehouse was burned to the ground in 2011 in the biggest blaze the borough had seen for decades.

Coun David Molyneux, Wigan Council deputy leader, welcomed the deal, which could lead to new jobs for Wiganers if tenants are found to take over the warehouses.

He said: “This investment in the borough demonstrates a healthy and robust confidence in the local economy and our potential for growth.

“Wigan borough is well positioned in the North West, easily accessible because of the excellent transport infrastructure which means we are able to offer a strategic advantage over other areas in the region.

“This development is particularly encouraging because of the potential for creating new jobs in the borough, and our workforce is well equipped to respond to this opportunity.”

LGP, which will hand over responsibility for the progress of the site to property developers Barwood, believes the site is ideally located, close to the M6, to attract major retailers and confirmed that the warehouses could provide jobs for hundreds of workers.

The two proposed warehouses will be 555,000ft sq and 100,000ft sq, respectively.

Manager of LGP, Will Edwards, said: “This transaction provides us with exposure to an attractive distribution development opportunity in a strong location with little competing supply and considerable demand prospects.”

Andrew Dickman, Director of Barwood, said: “This is the first site that we have acquired since establishing a new office in the North West.

“We believe this site will be of interest to a number of retailers and logistic operators looking for prime distribution space in the area.

“Importantly, we are able to deliver bespoke units for occupiers - ready for occupation within nine months - as we will have a detailed planning consent and services are already in place.”

But in the shorter term the estate is to be hit by traffic problems as a predicted four months of bridge replacement work takes place. See page 4 for the full story.