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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
George Lythgoe

Former spinning mill to be transformed into 137 apartments at heart of new urban complex

A former spinning mill in Wigan’s town centre is set to be transformed into 137 apartments now developers have been given the green light.

Mill 3 at the Eckersley Mill site will be turned into one, two and three-bed flats with the addition of penthouse style apartments with private terracing on the rooftop extension. This would form part of a wider plan across all three mills in the complex - masterminded by Heaton Group.

Mill 1 has already been granted permission to transform what is currently used as a gym and fitness facility, wrestling club, play centre, and self storage; into Wigan’s equivalent of a Mackie Mayor style food hall.

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The plans for Mill 1 will feature a series of individual stalls and a bar on the ground floor with an outdoor terrace that can host around 350 people. Mill 3 will deliver the homes needed as part of the new overhaul.

Artist impression of how Mill 3 at Eckersley Mill in Wigan could look following redevelopment (Heaton Group/Wigan Council)

Although the developers want to retain as many of the historic aspects of the Grade II listed building as possible, Mill 3 at the Swan Meadow Road site will also undergo restructuring work as well as some demolition in order to make the building viable as residential space. The engine and boiler rooms will be refurbished and the staircase will become a feature piece leading to the 60-space car park.

The old sanitary block at the mill will be demolished and form part of the central atrium of the apartment complex.

The design and access statement said: “The redevelopment of this neglected building, represents probably the last opportunity to bring it back to life. The designation has already been identified as suitable in previous studies and applications due to its key location close to the town centre and its proximity with other residential developments outside the Eckersley site.

Artist impression of how Mill 3 at Eckersley Mill in Wigan could look following redevelopment (Heaton Group/Wigan Council)

“It is hoped that together with the redevelopment of the nearby Mill 1, designated for commercial use, they would provide a catalyst for the much needed future regeneration of the rest of the Eckersley Mills site. The newly renovated building needs to celebrate the existing architecture and historical use of the mill whilst integrating new contemporary design elements and a new use, whilst still respecting the cultural and historic significance of the original Mill.

“It is proposed to develop the entire building with residential accommodation providing a diversified offer including standard 1, 2 and 3 bedroom flats, duplex and gallery apartments. “The aim is to maximise the provision of unique apartments by retaining as many historical features as possible and enhance the industrial character.”

At its height of production in the mid-1920’s, the mills contained some 253,000 spindles and 1,687 looms and employed more than 3,000 workers, forming one of the largest integrated textile production sites in the country. It is hoped that the Mill 3 development, together with Mill 1, will form a prominent part of what is envisioned as the ‘Pier Quarter’.

How Mill 3 at Eckersley Mill in Wigan looks currently (Heaton Group/Wigan Council)

This development is running alongside the rejuvenation of Wigan Pier which started work in February 2023. This would see the famous site brought back into the fold as a wedding venue and micro-brewery.

This overall vision of the Pier Quarter is hoping to breathe new life into an area that has been left unused since the demise of Wigan Pier, made famous by George Orwell's novel, more than a decade ago.

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