Wigan Council is set to launch the search for a partner to bring forward the redevelopment of The Galleries later this year, with potential future uses including residential, food and drink, leisure, or a hotel.
The council bought the 440,000 sq ft shopping centre, including Marketgate and Makinson Arcade, in 2018. While a former owner had gained planning consent for a retail-led scheme which was never progressed, the council was clear after the acquisition that it planned to redevelop the site for other uses.
At a meeting earlier this month, the council unanimously endorsed plans for the regeneration of the whole plot, and the decision to trigger the start of the procurement process in autumn, in order to secure a development partner.
A development would see the relocation and redevelopment of the market, and a refocusing of the retail around Makinson Arcade.
The council has already undertaken some soft market testing, and has identified the potential uses for the site as residential, food and drink, leisure, and possibly a hotel.
Speaking to Place North West, Wigan Council’s director of economy and skills Rebecca Heron said further details of the project would be worked out through the procurement process.
“We’re looking to diversify the uses, we didn’t ever plan to be a retail centre operator, and there’s an oversupply of retail in the town centre.
“We’re going out to the market in autumn, and that will be a competitive process, and we’re clear what we are seeking in the redevelopment.
“The specifics of the project will be decided with the development partner. We appreciate the bidding process can be resource intensive, so we want to make the process as streamlined as possible.”
The Galleries scheme forms part of the council’s wider plans for regenerating the town centre, including a strategy to prepare for the potential arrival of HS2.