Discover how Wigan's vision for the future is coming to life

As a Manchester at UKREiiF partner, Wigan Council are shining a light on their bold vision for the future and investment opportunities with an update on two of the borough's most transformative projects to date.

Located in the North West of England, Wigan is one of the largest metropolitan boroughs in the country, and one of the greenest districts in Greater Manchester.

In Wigan, the local authority and businesses see the potential, the possibilities and the promise of a diverse and resilient economy. Knowing that partnership is key to success and building a place to grow and invest, Wigan will be using its platform at UKREiiF alongside the Manchester Delegation to showcase its vision for the future, current investment opportunities and existing projects that are working to bring the borough's ambitions to life.

Here are the latest updates for two transformative projects which are currently in the works and set to change the face of Wigan.

Learn more about Wigan’s current opportunities and bold vision here.

Reserved Matters Planning Application Submitted For Wigan Multi Media Centre

Cityheart and Wigan Council have jointly submitted a reserved matters planning application for an 84,000 sq ft Multi Media Centre (MMC) in the heart of Wigan town centre, on the site of the former Galleries shopping centre.

Wigan Galleries MMC
Wigan Galleries MMC

Following the November 2021 grant of the successful hybrid planning application for the redevelopment of the entire site, this next application brings forward further planned design detail for the MMC. It will comprise a six-screen, 700-seat cinema, a multi-lane bowling alley, indoor mini golf, a climbing wall and a wide range of other indoor leisure activities. The MMC will also include public events space and a games arcade along with a range of bar and restaurant establishments.

Cityheart is Wigan Council’s development partner for the £135m transformation of the former Galleries shopping complex site. The long-term, multi-phase investment and development programme is well underway and will deliver one of the UK’s most innovative low-carbon regeneration projects, transforming the town centre.

Designed by JM Architects, this nationally significant development will also comprise 483 homes across seven new residential buildings; a 144-bedroom hotel; a retirement living complex; a new market hall and food court as well as newly landscaped areas of public realm including a public square for events and performances.

Commenting on the submission of the reserved matters application Warren Taylor, Development Director at Cityheart said: “The MMC was originally going to form part of a later phase of the multi-stage development but has been brought forward to realise the ambition of a truly mixed-use, exciting town centre neighbourhood. Having superb town centre leisure facilities will transform Wigan for existing and future residents and creates a destination for visitors which will enhance the local economy. We are looking forward to the determination of the application and if it is successful making a swift start on site with demolition commencing in later spring/early summer.”

Since signing a Development Agreement in June 2021, the partnership between Wigan Council and Cityheart has made rapid progress in securing a hybrid planning application for the full site in November 2021, securing vacant possession of the site, and starting site remediation and demolition works in July last year, which are being undertaken by Principal Contractor BECGI Construction (UK) Ltd.

The demolition work has been meticulously planned to take place over 18 months, delivering a phased programme of clearance across the site. The first phase of demolition is expected to conclude on time towards the end of 2023 and careful sequencing is being utilised to cause minimum disruption. The new market hall will be the first building to be completed, targeted for late 2024.

Aidan Thatcher, Director, Growth and Economy for Wigan Council added:The MMC will provide Wigan town centre with a super leisure facility which is essential in creating a place for future generations to enjoy, a town centre neighbourhood which will be populated by more local people, increased visitors, new homes, a destination market, successful businesses and thriving retailers.”

The completed scheme is set to create circa 660 full-time jobs and have a Gross Value Add (GVA) impact of £26.5m per year. As an indirect result, 40 full-time jobs will be supported adding a further £2.5m GVA per year.

First Phase of £200m Eckersley Mills Transformation Begins

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has officially marked the start of work on the first phase of the Heaton Group’s ambitious transformation of Eckersley Mills.

Plans to turn the grade two-listed Wigan mill into a food hall and offices were approved by Wigan Council in January.

The Heaton Group at Eckersley Mills
The Heaton Group at Eckersley Mills

The regeneration specialists are carrying out a sensitive conversion of Mill One at Eckersley Mills and aim to transform it into a thriving complex that is perfect for 21st-century work.

After meeting apprentices and staff the MP viewed the plans, took a tour of the site and took part in a ceremony to mark the start of work.

The ground floor is being converted into a 22,000 sq ft micro-brewery and food hall, featuring a series of individual stalls. The upper three floors of the mill will be used for offices, including the Heaton Group’s headquarters.

The scheme, which has been welcomed by Historic England, will create close to 80,000 s. ft of office space and will be home to almost 400 jobs. The ambitious plan includes a rooftop extension, providing additional work and events space.

Lisa Nandy said:It is great to see a part of Wigan’s heritage being saved – by a Wigan family business — with such an exciting and ambitious scheme.

“It’s important that we do what we can to bring new life to these historic buildings. What the Heaton Group is planning is really putting Wigan on the map. I am looking forward to seeing how work progresses.”

Managing Director John Heaton says: “As a Wigan business Eckersley Mills means a lot to us. It has been neglected and suffered from a lack of investment so bringing life back to the mills is a positive, but it has to be done right. Our plans will save as much of the mills as we can, create jobs and attract new businesses into the town.”

The plan represents the first phase of a wider £200 million masterplan for the 17-acre site. A planning application to restore Mill Three and create 137 apartments is currently being considered. The Heaton Group is also exploring plans to develop a purpose-built industrial estate close to the Eckersley Mills site where it will accommodate as many of the existing tenants as possible.

Close to Wigan town centre, the 17-acre site is one of the largest undeveloped brownfield sites in the North West. Eckersley Mills was once the largest cotton-producing site in the region and contains a group of buildings, which were built between 1883 and 1920.

For more than 50 years The Heaton Group, which is based on Wallgate in Wigan, has built its name by delivering residential developments across the North West of England. Current projects include The Exchange and Bishopgate Gardens, both in Preston and Urban Green in Trafford.

Learn more about Wigan’s current opportunities and bold vision here.