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Wigan and Manchester revamp as Bristol longingly looks on

Wigan Pier is being demolished ahead of plans to redevelop the run-down area with shops, homes and a 1,200 performance venue.

The end of the historic region comes with bulldozers poised to demolish the building once famous for housing the popular Wigan Pier nightclub. The popular nightspot has had former revellers reminiscing past blissful nights yet sad to see the demise of the focal point of Northern soul.

Popular for visitors and the local community in Wigan, Wigan Pier is situated just a few hundred yards south-west of the town centre.

It was just mad! I last went in the ‘80s. Oh the dancing, the dancehall there was just lively!” Neil from Manchester lamented about his memories of the nightclub.

Although demolition began last year, developers are knocking down the remaining structures this weekend to start work on the area which will be rebranded ‘Wigan Pier Quarter’. Also revealed in the plans are a 70-car parking space and new canal boat facilities.

It was recently announced that developers H20 Urban will lead the rejuvenation project, along with Canal and River Trust, whose development manager added: “These are exciting times for Wigan.”

Another endorsement of the plans came from the deputy council leader, David Molyneux who said: “The regeneration is an important priority for the council and the local community. It will attract investment and development in this area and make sure it has a bright future.”

Meanwhile in Bristol, the city’s assistant mayor, Simon Cook, launched into an outcry about the £78 million being pledged to build a new theatre in Manchester rather than spending the money in Bristol where there is a need for investment.

The mayor’s objection came as Bristol City Council revealed plans to pledge £10 million towards the £45 million restoration of Colston Hall.

Cook carried on spooling out his frustration at the news by adding: “We are European Green Capital this year and we haven’t got a concert hall that is fit for purpose. The chancellor throws £78m at Manchester for a theatre which frankly they don’t need.”

The building’s foyer got a revamp of £20 million in 2009; the only redevelopment done in recent years.

In December Chancellor George Osborne promised £78 million to build a venue on Manchester’s former Granada TV Studios site. Although Manchester City Council has declined to respond to Cook’s comments, it has said that the proposed venue would “play an integral part in helping Manchester and the North of England provide a genuine cultural counterbalance to London.” The Bristol assistant mayor believes his city has a greater need of “cultural infrastructure” than Manchester.

Look further explains that “we can’t bring in some shows we’d like to. The stage isn’t big enough to hold a full symphony orchestra – this is ridiculous for a major European city.”

The Arts Council continues long-term talks with Bristol City Council and other stakeholders about Colston Hall’s future.  Mr Cook echoes this point, lending weight to his argument that Bristol ought to be the focal point of the Chancellor’s pot.

 

TNT News Yasin Chinembiri

 

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