A hybrid application for the redevelopment of the 440,000 sq ft Galleries Shopping Centre has been backed by the council, paving the way for a start on site in January.
Approval comes in the face of public backlash over the loss of the old indoor market and the appointment of China-backed construction firm BCEGI as part of the development consortium.
BCEGI, in a joint venture lead by Chester-based developer Cityheart, sought hybrid consent for the £135m development at a meeting of Wigan Council’s planning committee yesterday.
At one point during the meeting, an objector was ejected for interrupting proceedings to protest about China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims.
The JV, known as Galleries 25, won full consent for the demolition of the shopping centre and Wigan Market as well as the creation of 218 homes across four blocks, a new market building, and a hotel.
A pavilion that is to house a food and beverage establishment and events space also features in the plans.
The outline elements of the scheme include an additional 265 homes, a multimedia centre, 10,000 sq ft of commercial space, and roughly the same amount of food and beverage accommodation.
The multimedia centre features a cinema, bowling alley, and multipurpose event space.
“This important scheme will help to significantly rejuvenate the heart of Wigan town centre,” said Warren Taylor, director of Cityheart.
“We look forward to realising our vision and delivering a vibrant new destination for the town centre with green outdoor spaces and stunning buildings. This scheme will breathe new life into the area and bring with it long lasting social and economic benefits.”
Cityheart and BCEGI beat off competition from regeneration specialists Muse Developments and a partnership between Maple Grove Developments and Urban Splash to secure the Wigan job.
The vision for the Galleries has been designed by JM Architects and law firm Brabners is advising Cityheart on the scheme. Zerum is the planning consultant.
Wigan council bought the Galleries from Luxembourg-based firm Colcastor in March 2018.
The leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux, added: ““Now more than ever it’s vital we do everything we can to create exciting and welcoming town centres to help support our local businesses and jobs.
“The plan for the Galleries very much reflects the feedback we got from residents about the importance of vibrant town centres during the Big Listening Project in 2018 and more recent consultations. We will continue to work with existing businesses in the town centre to manage any disruption during the construction and will continue to work together to ensure their views are heard and taken on board.”