Green light to transform brutalist civic centre into new Wigan workplace

Wigan Civic Centre

Wigan Council has approved a detailed planning application for ‘Civic’, the Capital&Centric project that will see the concrete, brutalist former civic centre on Millgate, restored and repurposed into a new workplace.

Work started last November to strip out the unusable fittings, as well as carefully remove fixtures with no architectural merit, from plasterboard and flooring tiles to light fittings.

With planning now granted, the main works will soon get under way, with the first Civic workspaces expected to be available as early as spring 2025.

Social impact developer Capital&Centric – working in partnership with Wigan Council and supported by UKSPF – said it is writing a new chapter for the imposing building, first opened in 1970. It aims to draw in businesses that want high quality, designer workspaces outside the city centre.

Civic facilities will include a gym and mini cinema, cycle storage and a relaxing roof terrace.

Exposed concrete inside will be framed by lush new plants and trees. There’ll also be spaces for the public to enjoy, including a new coffee shop complete with a spill-out terrace, as well as outdoor seating spots along Millgate.

Sabine Dunstan, Development Manager at Capital&Centric, said: “The model for businesses across the country is changing. With hybrid working here to stay, people want more creative workspaces and increasingly need inspiring and social spaces that bring people together. Civic will do just that, with not only stunning office spaces in a design-led building, but loads of break out amenity spaces that will foster interaction between neighbouring businesses.

“The green light from Wigan Council clears the way for the main restoration to get going. These 70s concrete buildings really divide opinion from people who either love or loathe them. We’re firmly in the former camp and we’ll prove brutalist can be beautiful. Civic has been dormant for too long and we can’t wait to reveal it’s new look next spring.”

Capital&Centric is targeting for the building to be BREEAM ‘excellent’ – a recognised industry accreditation that sets the national standard for best practice in sustainable design, now widely used to measure a building’s environmental performance.

Cllr David Molyneux, leader of Wigan Council, said: “This is a really exciting step forward for this project, set to create high quality business space alongside fantastic facilities, in our town centre.

“This sustainable redevelopment is just one of a number of exciting projects taking place across our town centre, including Wigan Pier, Eckersley Mills and, of course, the former Galleries, all supporting the regeneration of Wigan as a place where people choose to live, work, visit and invest.”

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