Underground bunker cinema and "world class dining" to feature in multi-million pound Haigh Hall development

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An underground bunker cinema, world class dining experience, astronomy displays and the transformation of a derelict zoo are all planned in a huge overhaul of Wigan’s historic Haigh Woodland Park.

The £37.5m project is set to restore and expand the historic site “to its former glory”.

A derelict zoo on School Lane, just off the main complex, is set to be transformed into a new visitors attraction and learning centre. The new "multi-purpose garden pavilion” and education and training hubs will provide more activity space. The works will include a 16 space car park.

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The former zoo on School Lane closed in the 1990s and, after a short spell housing a model village, has been left vacant ever since.

An unused building on the Haigh estateAn unused building on the Haigh estate
An unused building on the Haigh estate
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The overarching project has seen a huge amount of funding pumped into the historic site to make much needed repairs to all aspects of the building and “transform” it into a community space.

Haigh Hall itself is currently undergoing a massive refurbishment in connection with these other regeneration works.

According to the Wigan Council plans, a new world class dining experience, an underground bunker cinema, an art gallery for “Theodore Major’s visionary work”, and a rooftop terrace for astronomy are all set to become a reality.

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What used to be part of Haigh ZooWhat used to be part of Haigh Zoo
What used to be part of Haigh Zoo

"In addition to the “five-floor masterplan” to restore the hall itself, the derelict gateway lodges are set for a revamp as well.

Dubbed as “unsafe and unwelcoming” by the council, the entrance buildings will be brought back to use as an “interpretative gateway”, toilet and information kiosk.

The council believes the unused state of them deters some people visiting the site.

Coun Chris Ready, portfolio holder for communities and neighbourhoods, said: “Our Haigh Hall masterplan would transform this iconic landmark into an attractive arts, culture and heritage visitor destination of national significance; one which will celebrate the rich character and unique story of our borough.

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An artist's impression of the new visitor attractionAn artist's impression of the new visitor attraction
An artist's impression of the new visitor attraction

"On top of the restoration of the Hall itself, our plans for the wider grounds include bringing this derelict area back into use with the creation of an attractive community space capable of supporting various community activities and educational opportunities.

“We are committed to engaging with local residents throughout the process and will be developing a full traffic and transport strategy for the whole site which will consider issues such as parking capacity and access routes to support our ambitions while having minimal impact on residents.”