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Plans revealed for the regeneration of historic Wigan Pier

Manchester-based Step Places, in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, has been chosen by Wigan Council to spearhead the regeneration of Wigan Pier.

Not a pier in the traditional sense, the area called Wigan Pier is around the Wigan flight of locks on the Leeds and Liverpool canal. The original Wigan Pier was a wooden jetty which loaded coal onto boats from nearby collieries, but it was demolished in 1929.

George Orwell documented the bleak living conditions of the area in his seminal 1937 text, The Road to Wigan Pier.

He famously described the area as a ‘monstrous scenery of slag-heaps, chimneys, piled scrap-iron, foul canals, paths of cindery mud criss-crossed by the prints of clogs.’

As part of this new regeneration scheme, the currently derelict 18th century industrial buildings are set to be transformed into mixed-use leisure spaces.

It is hoped the project could be a catalyst for further development in and around the area.

Harinder Dhaliwal of Step Places said: ‘Our proposals will see the buildings become a multi-functional leisure venue promoting arts, culture and events. We are truly excited to be part of a partnership delivering such a world-class venue and bringing life back to Wigan Pier respecting its past and heritage and looking forward to the future of significant buildings of such local and national importance.’

Deputy leader of Wigan Council, councillor David Molyneux said: ‘Wigan Pier is one the most iconic locations in the north west. We have had long-held ambitions to create a new purpose for Wigan Pier as a destination and leisure attraction.

Step Places’ vision for the Pier was, from the outset, extremely impressive and fulfilled everything that we hoped Wigan Pier would become. We are now in a position to share this vision and the real work starts now. We will support Step Places throughout the process and look forward to their plans being realised and Wigan Pier become a popular destination for people in the borough and beyond once again.’

Ian Sprott from the Canal and River Trust, said: ‘Wigan Pier is an important part of the history of Wigan and the wider region. The Canal and River Trust is proud to have been a partner in securing a new future for the Wigan Pier quarter and we are excited by the developer’s vision for the area.’

Last year, New Start featured an interview with Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council, which you can read here

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