Gordons proves itself in-tune with developer over plans to revive site of iconic music venue

Thursday 19th February 2015

Advice from Yorkshire law firm Gordons has proved instrumental in paving the way for an £8m redevelopment at the site of a world-famous music venue.

Kate Johnson, a solicitor in the firm’s commercial property team, is advising developer H2O Urban on plans for a mixed use scheme at part of Wigan Pier. The four decade-old nightclub there, now set for demolition after being derelict for three years, was an iconic venue in the 1990s house and rave scene, after the area as a whole was immortalised during the 1930s in George Orwell’s book The Road to Wigan Pier.

Specifically, Ms Johnson has so far advised her client on its agreement for lease and building lease with Wigan Council over the area it intends to redevelop initially. The redevelopment will be in collaboration with the local authority and H2O Urban LLP. H2O is a national Joint venture company owned by private developer bloc ltd and the Canal & River Trust, which cares for Britain’s 200-year-old network of canals, rivers and docks. H2O Urban, develops commercial and residential projects alongside its network.

The developer’s agreement for lease with Wigan Council is subject to planning permission being secured for the scheme’s first phase. It is intended that the application will be lodged in the next six months with works on-site commencing in 2016.

This initial phase is envisaged as part of wider development known as Wigan Pier Quarter, which H2O Urban has agreed with the local council to create, containing new retail, leisure and residential uses. Wigan Pier Quarter is intended to bring life back to this currently run-down location, protect redundant historic buildings, generate revenue for reinvestment into waterways, develop new linkages around the area, and provide new moorings and associated facilities.

Commenting on Ms Johnson’s contribution to the project so far, Richard Thomas, development director, H2O Urban, said: “Kate drove this complicated scheme forward, bringing together all the required contracts in an efficient and very professional manner. Gordons were key in seeing the legal process over the line as quickly as this happened, so we could get on with delivering the scheme.”

H2O Urban had employed Ms Johnson before on the regeneration of Northwich Marina, in Cheshire, where it created a mixed-use waterside development comprising retail units, restaurants and retirement apartments.