Have your say on Wigan town centre masterplan

Council bosses and developers are seeking residents' views as they celebrate a major step forward for an ambitious scheme.
How part of the revamped Galleries could lookHow part of the revamped Galleries could look
How part of the revamped Galleries could look

A pre-application consultation on the scheme to radically alter The Galleries launches today (Tuesday) and residents are being urged to make their opinions known.

Residents will have a few weeks to get their feedback in as Wigan Council and its development partners Cityheart and BCEGI are hoping to submit the planning application for the £130m proposal next month.

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Wigan Council director of economy and skills Becca HeronWigan Council director of economy and skills Becca Heron
Wigan Council director of economy and skills Becca Heron
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Wigan Council director of economy and skills Becca Heron said: “This is another milestone in redeveloping The Galleries.

“The pandemic has accelerated some of the trends we’ve seen in town centres up and down the country.

“We’re fortunate in many ways to be moving forward with this. It’s a really challenging and complex project but it’s important to put the town on a more sustainable footing.

"This consultation is an important part of the process. It’s an opportunity for people to have their say on the proposals and help us to shape them.”

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Several tweaks have been made since the original masterplan for The Galleries was unveiled.

There are more details around the public realm and landscaping aspects of the scheme as well as the new market hall and the hotel, which is now slightly bigger than in the first proposal.

The consultation will run until June 1. Due to Covid-19 it will be a largely virtual affair, although there is a phone line for people to give verbal feedback.

An online drop-in session for residents to ask the development team questions takes place on May 20 at 6pm. Anyone wanting to attend will need to register in advance and they will then receive a link to the proceedings.

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The announcement of the intention to give The Galleries a radical overhaul over the next few years has not been received with unanimous praise. However, the team in charge has responded to some of the scepticism around the scheme.

Warren Taylor, director of Cityheart, said: “We wouldn’t be putting forward a plan if we weren’t assured the need was there.

“As a North West business we’re incredibly proud to be working on this important project and we’re excited about how this masterplan will change the heart of Wigan.”

Ms Heron said: “There have been some questions about demand for facilities but what set Cityheart’s bid apart was the work they had done in putting together a bespoke offer.

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“We do recognise this will bring uncertainty for retailers, traders and businesses in the town centre but if we don’t bring in new uses the town centre is going to continue to decline.

“Wigan has to look different to make it look distinctive and attractive. We want people to come in and shop but to have a meal or go to watch a film or go bowling as well.”

To find out more or register for the public drop-in event, visit www.galleries25.com. To give feedback over the phone, ring 0333 3580502 between 9am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

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