Timescale revealed for Wigan Pier plans

Wigan Pier looks set to be transformed into a multi-leisure destination in just 12 months.

Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 10:14 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 10:30 am
Gareth Smith, Harinder Dhaliwal and Laura Turley of Step Places, with Coun David Molyneux, and inset an artists impression of the new development

That is the timescale set by Wigan Council and developers Step Places, who have been appointed to transform the historic area.

They plan to turn the derelict 18th Century industrial buildings into a mixed-use leisure destination.

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An artist's impression of how the new project will look

Details of exactly what will be there have not yet been revealed, but there will be “arts, culture and events” and possibly educational facilities.

However, Hari Dhaliwal, managing director of Step Places, confirmed there would be restaurants.

He said: “We are planning to do what we call a multi-functional leisure destination. That will be supported by food and beverage.

“It is designed to bring people into the centre of Wigan.”

An artist's impression of how the new project will look

He said that while town centre living had become more popular in Wigan, such as at the nearby Trencherfield Mill, the night-time economy did not provide many leisure opportunities for residents.

And people may not have long to wait to see the vision become a reality.

Mr Dhaliwal said: “We are looking at approximately 12 months for delivery of the facilities.”

He is hopeful the scheme will be a catalyst for wider regeneration in the area and prove popular with Wiganers.

An artist's impression of how the new project will look

“We want to deliver something that is exemplar, that the people of Wigan can stand back and say they are really proud of,” he said.

The buildings included are The Warehouse, The Orwell pub and the Education Centre.

Step Places is a rebrand of the FirstStep group, well known across the North West for regeneration schemes.

The firm is currently working on mixed-use schemes in Ancoats and refurbished a former council building at Westwood Park, Poolstock.

An artist's impression of how the new project will look

Mr Dhaliwal said: “We have done historic buildings. I wouldn’t say we have done something which has this iconic status, but looking at the buildings, we have worked on buildings of this nature and waterside regeneration.”

Wigan Pier was originally a coal loading jetty for barges, became famous through a music hall joke by George Formby Snr and featured in the title of a book by George Orwell.

Wigan Council announced the start of a 10-year regeneration programme in 2014 and believes these plans could give a new lease of life to the site.

Coun David Molyneux, deputy leader of Wigan Council, said: “It was known in the past, when it was a tourist destination, certainly in the 80s and 90s, it attracted people from all over the world.

“I still think it has that pulling power, the developers certainly think it has that pulling power and I think it will be a success.”

The council and Step Places are now working through the legal transfer of the buildings.

Consideration will be given to infrastructure, such as ways to make it more pedestrian-friendly, to boost visitor numbers.