Place on Tour: Wigan

Wigan Business ExpoDevelopers, agents, financiers and planners joined Wigan Council and Place North West for a detailed tour of the borough’s development opportunities and strategic sites in the latest Place on Tour field trip.

See gallery below

Hosting the coach tour were Steve Burns, development projects manager at Wigan Council, and Alison Campbell-Smith, major projects service manager, also at Wigan Council.

Attendees enjoyed a diverse tour taking in major employment sites, heritage regeneration areas and housing projects.

Among the attendees were representatives from Lloyds Bank, McDermott Homes, Miller Homes, Nolan Redshaw, Pozzoni, Neptune Developments, Casey Group, CBRE and Lambert Smith Hampton.

Below is an at-a-glance summary of the tour:

Town Centre

  • Tour began with breakfast at Gallimores restaurant in town centre followed by walk through main shopping core
  • Galleries shopping centre has planning consent for redevelopment to provide larger retail units, a new leisure quarter anchored by a cinema, and relocation of indoor market
  • Recently acquired by Varde Partners, council is working with the new owners to secure investment and redevelopment
  • John Sanson, centre manager of Grand Arcade shopping centre walked guests through the 450,000 sq ft mall which trades strongly and enjoys high occupancy levels

Wigan Pier Quarter

  • Trencherfield Mill, council currently developing a pay-and-display car park fronting main road to attract investment, council keen to see a hotel operator
  • Wigan Pier Quarter acts as gateway to town centre and A49 but area has suffered from underutilisation and previous investment has not been sustained
  • Potential to be a place where people aspire to live, work and shop
  • Masterplan is being produced alongside Canal & River Trust
  • Allocated as Regeneration Priority Area through Allocations Plan currently being consulted upon
  • Overall aim for regeneration into a mix of uses including a leisure offer. Council working with H20 Urban, joint venture between developer Bloc and the Canal & River Trust, to redevelop 2.5-acre former First Bus depot
  • Eckersley Mill: Owned and managed by Maryland Properties. Includes The Way We Were museum, The Orwell and education centre and Community Garden. Council will shortly be appointing agents to advise and progress marketing of wider opportunity focused around these historic canalside buildings
  • Catalyst for renewed focus on the Wigan Pier area was construction of new £12m road, called Southgate, first road to be laid in the borough in about 20 years

Westwood Park

  • Substantial mixed-use site of 53 acres with outline planning consent for 429 residential units, 11 acres of office, industrial and distribution development. 8 hectares of B1, B2, B8 use
  • Wigan Flashes Visitor Centre will be developed by council and Lancashire Wildlife Trust
  • Council is majority landowner and keen to progress the disposal and development of the land. Agents due to be appointed shortly to sell the site
  • Nice Pak 400,000 sq ft £40m factory largest building ever built in Wigan currently on site and due to open in spring 2016


  • 96 acres with outline planning consent for housing, 472 units, being promoted by Greenbank Estates through agents Parkinsons Commercial

South Lancs Industrial Estate

  • Poundland’s new £40m distribution centre of 350,000 sq ft is on site with Stoford Developments
  • Joined by Andrew Dickman, director of DB Symmetry, developing the site of the former Georgia Pacific paper factory into M6EPIC110+, 110,000 sq ft to let on six acres with potential to expand by 70,000 sq ft
  • Potential for industrial estate to expand by 80 acres on greenfield land south-eastwards towards A58 Bolton Road at Stubshaw Cross
  • Access from junction 25 of the M6 motorway will be improved through the development of the major site at Landgate which will provide a bypass for Bryn Cross

Junction 25

Green Belt and not consented but long-term potential for major employment development if special case can be made for planning permission. Previous proposal was rejected by planning inspector

Pocket Nook

  • Highly visible greenfield site close to M6 J23 suitable for a mix of employment uses, including logistics and office development

Leigh Sports Village

  • £50m sports, retail and housing development home to Leigh Centurions rugby league side, Manchester United FC Under-21s, Blackburn Rovers U21 and reserves
  • Development opportunities available including hotel / extra care plot

Westleigh Waterfront

  • 51 acre site next to Leeds-Liverpool Canal in joint ownership of Canal & River Trust and Wigan Council
  • Identified in Strategic Housing Land Assessment having potential for housing development of 470 units
  • Council and CRT are looking to obtain planning consent before marketing the development opportunity

Pennington Wharf – The Marina

  • Taylor Wimpey is developing The Marina, with mix of family housing will total of 471 when completred, 80 built so far and selling well
  • The marina which has been constructed will be transferred to British Waterways Marinas in the coming months and should open next spring
  • More than 40 kilometres of canal run through Wigan Borough


  • Peel Land & Property and Wigan Council have commissioned a consultant team led by Hyder to prepare a masterplan for residential development for the South of Hindley part of this area. The consultant team are identifying key infrastructure requirements arising from the options
  • Broad mix of housing and employment recommended for 277-acre site

Northleigh Park

  • 185 acres of strategic housing site with outline planning consent for 1,800 homes and 50,000 sq ft of commercial space. Mainly owned by North Leigh Park Group


  • Population of 321,000, second biggest in Greater Manchester
  • One of 10 local authority areas in Greater Manchester City Region, playing a leading part in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Greater Manchester Strategy, the Devolution Deal with Central Government, and the Northern Powerhouse
  • Wigan’s economy is currently worth £4.2bn a year, which is projected to grow by 2.3% annually to £5.3bn by 2024
  • Council said quality of housing, environment and connectivity are catalysts for economic prosperity and support future growth and regeneration of the borough

Wigan Borough consists of towns and villages set within attractive green open spaces, over 70% of the borough is accessible green space, with amazing water features such as the Pennington Flashes. The main towns of Wigan, Leigh and Ashton offer attractive, modern retail and leisure opportunities. There are currently over 9,000 businesses in the borough supporting nearly 120,000 jobs. Whilst a high proportion of Wigan businesses are small, there are also major employers such as Heinz, Wincantons, AB World Foods, Hovis, Tesco and ASDA, as well as Nice Pak International and some world-renowned smaller companies such as Uncle Joes Mint Balls.

Wigan scores highly in terms of liveability, with high quality housing to buy or rent, vibrant market towns and friendly communities, good schools and colleges, lots of green space and canal-side walks to enjoy and easy connections to the rest of the northwest for work, leisure and shopping.

Wigan Council, through its Wigan Works strategy, has set itself ambitious growth targets to achieve over the next 10 years. This has been put down on paper in a new Economic Prospectus that sets out exactly how those ambitious targets are to be achieved.

Growth in numbers

Over the next 10 years, Wigan Council aims to:

  • Help create at least 10,000 new jobs in the borough
  • Give permission for 10,000 new homes to built
  • Work towards an economy worth £5255m by 2024

Transport Strategy and progress East – West Connectivity

Wigan has unique connectivity to transport routes with the M6 on its western boundary, the M61 to the east, the M58 forming direct access into the heart of Liverpool Docks and the A580 East Lancashire Road giving direct access to Liverpool and Manchester.

Ideally located on the edges of Lancashire, Cheshire and Merseyside, close to the M6 and M61, boasting 2 railway stations, less than 30 miles from Manchester and Liverpool, and on the main route between the South West of England and the Lake District and Scotland, Wigan has a locational advantage over other towns.

Contact Alison Campbell-Smith on 01942 827057,, Steve Burns on 01942 489189,

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