Plans approved for improvement work at Wigan's historic Haigh Hall
Haigh Hall could soon be restored to its former glory as plans to improve the outside of the historic building were given the green light.
Wigan Council has been granted permission to carry out work to the external fabric of the grade II*-listed building – the first major step to physically improving the hall since it returned to the local authority’s control last year.
The work will include repairs to the roof to address leaks and areas of damp, replacing plastic downpipes with cast iron, repointing across the building, full refurbishment of glazed skylights, cleaning external stonework, repairs to windows and replacing some with doors on the ground floor, and repainting external metalwork.
The procurement process for contractors will be carried out soon, with work expected to begin in winter.
Council bosses, working with artists Al and Al, have big plans for the hall, after winning a High Court battle last year to evict the firm which was operating a hotel there.
They are finalising a bid for £20m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, which must be submitted by July 6, to transform the building into a centre for arts and culture, heritage, hospitality and more.
At the centre of it will be an exhibition of work by Wigan artist Theodore Major, whose daughter Mary has agreed to permanently loan the £200m collection to the hall.
Other plans include an area for children’s education, event space for weddings and parties, rooftop terrace, restaurant, cafe, bar and more.
If successful, Haigh Hall could be transformed in just two or three years, jobs will be created and tens of millions of pounds could be brought into Wigan’s economy.
A planning application has also been submitted for the wider Haigh Woodland Park, which focuses on the Plantation Gates, Bothy Cottages and a new “woodland hub”.
This would include a centre for outdoor adventure activities, such as a forest school, a base for training and education, and new toilets open to the public.
However, the project is dependent on the council being successful in a bid for cash from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.