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Green light for start-up firm’s Wigan Pier overhaul

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Start-up practice Southgate & Sarabia has won a commission to redevelop empty 18th-century buildings at Wigan’s famous Pier into a mixed-use scheme

Councillors granted consent for the emerging firm’s plans to create eight homes and a range of events venues and visitor attractions on the canalside plot. 

Southgate & Sarabia, formed earlier this year, will convert the former Orwell pub into a wedding venue; the disused Heritage Centre museum into a distillery and micro-brewery; and the one-time Way We Were attraction into a food and drink hub.

The practice will also create a row of three-storey terraced houses on an overgrown former car park next to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. New public realm has been designed to encourage people to visit the area.

Developer Step Places, cultural organisation The Old Courts, Wigan Council and the Canal and River Trust are collectively backing the scheme.

Wigan council leader David Molyneux said: ‘The collaborative plans we have for Wigan Pier will completely rejuvenate the area and connect the Pier Quarter to the town centre much more seamlessly.

‘We are confident that that local people, visitors and those with an interest in the Pier buildings will welcome this formal decision and enjoy seeing this 18th century site brought back into modern use.’

Old Courts director Rebecca Davenport said: ‘An enormous amount of time has gone into shaping this vision and we feel that has been fully bought into with the passing of the plans. As expected, activity at the site is attracting a lot of interest and we’re confident the end result will make people excited, proud and happy.’

Southgate & Sarabia co-founder Natalie Sarabia-Johnston said she was ‘delighted’ by the planning approval. ‘It’s great to be involved as architects for the new housing scheme and the regeneration of the wider Wigan Pier development,’ she added.

Step Places managing director Harry Dhaliwal said it had been a ‘pleasure’ to work with the practice on the ‘high-profile and iconic project’. ‘We look forward to seeing its plans become reality over the coming months,’ he said.

Enabling work is under way, with full completion anticipated in March 2020.

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