In December 2020, Wigan Council appointed Galleries25 – a joint venture partnership between Cityheart and Beijing Construction Engineering Group International (BCEGI) – as their Strategic Development Partner for the circa £130 million redevelopment of the Galleries Shopping Centre in Wigan. The redevelopment aims to provide a vibrant new retail, leisure and residential scheme in the heart of the town centre, with landscaped public realm square and room for 460 car parking spaces.

Since December 2020 Wigan Council has been working closely with the Galleries25 team to establish a more detailed plan. In May, a pre-planning consultation launched – giving traders, retailers and members of the public the opportunity to have their say before the plan goes to planning committee in Autumn. In June the Council signed the Development Agreement with Cityheart and also the Galleries25 team submitted the detailed planning application for the site. The plans will be determined at a special planning committee scheduled on Tuesday 2nd November. If approved, work will commence early 2022.

Will this actually happen?

In short, yes. We simply can’t afford to do nothing, especially in the current financial climate.

When Wigan Council bought the Galleries, the intention was never to buy the complex and continue managing it as a retail outlet. It was acquired to enable the redevelopment of Wigan town centre and to create a more sustainable model for the future.

Shopping habits have changed and there is now too much retail space in Wigan town centre. People want new reasons to visit. The redevelopment of The Galleries will enable some of the surplus retail space to be repurposed to bring arts, leisure, housing, culture, food, independent shops, craft and makers into the town.

The Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these issues and if we do nothing, we risk the future of Wigan town centre.

Why have you chosen Cityheart and BCEGI to deliver the scheme?

This is the biggest transformational regeneration scheme the council has embarked on and the Galleries25 team were selected as development partners because they developed a strong masterplan and demonstrated their ability to deliver it.

A development project of this scale is complex and challenging and requires a development partner with the experience, expertise and resources necessary to deliver it.  Cityheart and BCEGI are both UK based, with a proven track record of delivering complex regeneration schemes.

There are strict procurement processes that we have had to adhere to, to identify a preferred development partner for a scheme of this scale. We embarked on an open, intensive and robust process called “competitive dialogue”.  Subject to due diligence on financial standing and professional expertise the process is open to any company.

Cityheart and BCEGI were one of 4 bidders to compete in the outline solutions stage – three bidders then progressed to put forward detailed solutions. Proposals were assessed on the basis of quality, cost and social value and Cityheart and BCEGI scored strongly under all themes. They were selected on the basis of the quality of the offer but also very much on the strength of their Community Wealth Building commitments.

Cityheart and BCEGI have made some very strong commitments to ensuring that the benefits are felt locally. 40% of recruitment will be within the borough and 60% from the north west.  £52m will be spent within the local supply chain.  We will work with local companies to ensure that they’re able to access the opportunities that the redevelopment presents.

Has the plan for redevelopment been finalised? What are the timescales?

The masterplan was developed through dialogue with the Galleries25 team during the process to identify a development partner.

The current masterplan has been shaped and refined further by consultation and engagement with the public, retailers, traders and local representative groups.

A planning application was submitted in June and will be determined in November 2021. If approved, it is envisaged that work will start on site in early 2022, with completion of the scheme in 2025.

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