Turnpike House to turn over a new leaf?

Turnpike House

A major building in Leigh - said once to be a “blight” on the town centre - might be transformed into an apartments block.

Several smashed windows and vacant offices have left the upper floors of Turnpike House, on Market Street, an unappealing prospect for a number of years.

But Manchester-based developer Hamad Alhargan has now notified Wigan Council that he intends to create 18 new flats on the first and second storeys there.

Mr Alhargan and his design team. Stockport-based PHA Architects want to locate some of the units on the first floor but the majority on the top level, with some overlooking Market Street.

Coun Myra Whiteside, chairman of the Leigh Town Centre Committee, has previously labelled the site a “blight”.

But she has now given a cautious welcome to the fresh planning application.

Coun Whiteside, who represents Leigh West ward on Wigan Council, said: “We have been looking at this building, as a committee, for some time and this could be better than what is there now.

“Obviously I will need to have a look at the application in depth first before I decide on whether or not this is going to be suitable.

“What might be acceptable for a developer might not fit in with what we want for our town centre.

“This is located opposite the town hall as well so we want to see how it will look.

“It would all depend on what kind of apartments are being proposed there - we want what’s going to be best for Leigh.”

The building was originally placed up for auction in the summer of 2016, with a reserve price of £500,000, through Newton-based Pugh and Company.

But the site, which is already home to a number of stores, including Cash Generator and Scoota Mart, was purchased privately before any bids were taken.

The new proposals will not impact on the stores, it is believed, as several traders along the parade are understood to have long-term leases.

Turnpike House used to be home to borough council adult education offices.

The ultimate decision on the suitability of the development has been delegated to council officers.

If eventually approved the scheme would be similar in concept to another development on Lord Street, which will be home to shops with flats located above.

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