Wigan town centre set for major regeneration

The Galleries
X The Business Desk

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Wigan Council has acquired one of the town’s largest shopping centres to drive forward far-reaching regeneration plans.

It has bought The Galleries in order to reverse years of stagnation and decline in the town centre.

The authority says “new diverse uses” for complex will be identified by the council and new retailers will be sought alongside retention of its most popular stores.

The acquisition is part funded by the dividend the council receives from Manchester Airport as a shareholder along with the nine other Greater Manchester councils.

The purchase also includes the Makinson Arcade and Marketgate.

The Galleries covers a huge six-acre site in the middle of Wigan, and has suffered from a historic lack of investment, said the council.

Built in the late 1980s and it was very popular in its heyday but is now more than half empty with a dated design and changing modern shopping habits, including online retail and out of town centres, contributing to its difficulties.

Real estate specialists CBRE has now been commissioned by the council to create a future plan for the centre with a masterplan to identify more diverse uses to match current and future trends and the modern economy.

Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan Council, said: “Wigan Council is committed through The Deal to support our local economy to grow and prosper.

“For too long The Galleries has suffered from a lack of investment.

“This has been detrimental for the town centre and for the people of the borough who love to shop inWigan town centre and have watched The Galleries decline with sadness. Doing nothing is not an option.

“The council is now investing for the good of the town and the local economy. This is an exciting new chapter for Wigan town centre.

The Galleries, which covers 440,000 square feet has 82 retail units, Marketgate has 35 units and Makinson Arcade has 27 units.

Wigan Council is not alone in local councils investing in their local shopping centres to deliver regeneration schemes.
CBRE will develop a 90-day plan as well as a long term vision for the site and will also manage the asset on behalf of the council in the first 12 months.

The investment in Wigan follows £5m pledge for Leigh town centre, which is in the borough, with £1m already invested in the regeneration of Bradshawgate and the outdoor market.