|Old Town Hall
As reported in the Wigan Evening Post 25th October 2010, a planning application has been submitted to Wigan Council for car parking provision at the rear of the building.
The premises were vacated in 1990 by the council who re-housed in the former Mining & Technical College on Library St. After this relocation, a decision was made to partly demolish the building and the remains are what we see today. A covenant on the site in respect to what it can be used for was appeased by Wigan Council in 2005 to help the buyer of the time convert the site.
Whilst I welcome the decision to do something with the abandoned rear, it is still my hope that some structure can come of the facade which I admire greatly each time I pass the site. The stone tablet resting at the corner overlooking King Street is a site to behold with the town’s former unofficial Coat of Arms there for all to see, a true sign of local identity in a very much used capacity whether on buildings, council correspondence and even within some old library books. The current Coat of Arms just doesn’t scream identity and being, just a concoction of others council’s rolled in to one. The previous one with its motto “Ancient & Loyal” had an understanding and local significance which we could all relate too.
I have spoken to many about the derelict town hall site and most are of the opinion it should be knocked down. My beliefs in local history and the heritage and conservation of Wigan are staunch, and do not agree with such opinion. I’d rather be asking the question on how it was allowed to get in to such a state, with covenant, and no contingency plan upon leaving the site for bigger premises.
I am aware of a bunker underneath the site having had a conversation with a gentleman who used to run the war museum at Millom and shares an incredible knowledge on wartime Wigan.
Planning applications have been lodged for a hotel and retail units in the last few years, both thrown out. I just hope a compromise can be met soon, even if it means the authority becoming impatient and completing a compulsory purchase of the site.