Wigan Council to create food and drink hub at former manor house
Wigan Council has unveiled details of a new regional food and drink hub which will be built in the grounds of a borough-owned Grade II listed former manor house.
The new artisan ‘village’, The Kitchen Courtyard, will see ten food and drink producers installed in the former stables of Haigh House in 2016, as part of the £12m redevelopment of the grounds.
Ten companies are currently negotiating lease terms with Wigan Council with the expectation to occupy the units in the spring. The line-up includes baker All You Knead, Cook & Forage butchers’ & grocer, Luisco Chocolates, Holden’s Ice Cream Parlour and micro-brewery Allgates Brewery, which will run a tap room bar. A cheese-maker and new café-bistro and tea room will also be added.
There was “overwhelming” interest in from potential tenants in project, with around 40 local businesses expressed interest, Keith Bergman, strategic development manager for outdoor leisure & enterprise at Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust told FFD. “This was whittled down to 10 in order to ensure a good range of tenants”.
The Kitchen Courtyard was conceived 18 months ago and forms part of the three-year, £12m development of the Hall and Woodland Park. It is expected to attract around 150,000 additional visitors to the park, with the majority coming from a 30-mile radius of the site.
The stables have previously benefitted from major capital investment in 2010, when around £350k was spent creating new art and craft new units on two sides of the Hall’s original stables. The latest project, which is set to start in January and be completed by Easter, will convert the two remaining sides and refurbished the existing units to bring them all to the same standard.
The Kitchen Courtyard will be managed by Wigan Council and its new consumer brand partner, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles.
Councillor Paul Kenny, cabinet member for leisure, said the quality food and drink offer at the Kitchen Courtyard was an important part of the wider development of the park. “It provides a great opportunity for local and regional food and drink producers, suppliers and retailers and we are confident that it will grow to be a major attraction,” he added.
The main house is being transformed into a luxury 30-bedroom hotel, with the grounds housing a series of outdoor playgrounds and visitor attractions including high ropes, an adventure golf course and a children’s play area.