SUPERSTORE wars are threatening plans for a major jobs boost in the borough, it was claimed today.
High street giant Sainsbury’s wants to use an existing half empty industrial estate off Bridge Street in Golborne - which planners would have to re-zone for retail before approval - for a huge new store to be opened in summer 2014.
But lawyers representing the neighbouring Asda-Walmart site in Edge Green Lane have formally protested to the council about the loss of industrial land.
Now former leader of the opposition on the council Peter Franzen is heading a campaign to save the scheme.
The Community Action Party chief - who lives only a matter of hundreds of yards away from the Millingford Industrial Estate complex - says that store will be a huge boost for Golborne.
Wigan planning chiefs confirm the scheme was lodged in October but say that they have no date yet for when the application will be put before councillors. They are said to be considering putting the matter into the hands of external planning consultants because of the potential legal minefield.
Sainsbury’s want to build a 60,000sqft supermarket, cafe and petrol filling station on the former spinning and dyeing mill site which borders the West Coast main railway line.
It would offer 425 full and part-time jobs along with a 480-space car park which will also be available for town centre shoppers to use.
Golborne Asda failed to respond to our inquiries about their objection to the Sainsbury’s scheme.
But in documentation outlining their objection, their lawyers dispute the council’s classification of the store as “out of town” and the council’s own retail impact report on their operation.
But Mr Franzen said: “This could be the best thing to happen to Golborne for years and I fully support Sainsbury’s. They are talking about millions of pounds in investment in a town that for decades has suffered neglect and decline.
“The 400 jobs are absolutely crucial, of course, but there are some real public gains that will mean a lot to this town such as toilets and the car park.
“This could bring people back into town, which is so important to the remaining businesses which have struggled or closed. Opening a Sainsbury’s could attract up to 2,000 people a day. The industrial estate is half empty and falling into a real state of disrepair because the landlords can’t make it pay and the last thing we want is for another eyesore on this route into town.”
Sainsbury’s declined to comment.