LIKE a rocky outcrop defying surging seas, Borsdane Shopping Precinct has stubbornly resisted the battering.
Yobs and arsonists have set fire to it and scrap scavengers plundered it of its copper wiring and lead flashings.
Now, after a decade-plus of failed starts and complex legal argument between successive owners to thwart the threat of possible compulsory purchase action by the exasperated council planning control bosses, the precinct in Hindley will definitely shortly be no more.
Agreement has been reached to flatten the remaining sections of Wigan’s most infamous eyesore by the end of this month.
The wrecking ball will clear the way for a much-anticipited new-build retail and housing complex.
Dubbed “Little Beirut” by longsuffering residents in Borsdane Avenue and the few surviving original traders, the uninspiring 1960s centre has proved a significant challenge for successive councillors and the town hall’s legal department.
Planners and legal officers have worked closely with Clowes Developments after earlier proposals fell foul of the economic downturn.
It will be replaced with a new retail scheme comprising five shops anchored by a Spar convenience store. Other premises to be built include a bookmakers with further traders to be signed shortly.
The existing Spar will stay open until the rest of the site has been finished to provide continuity.
It will be demolished with plans for a 24-home estate to be built under a scheme submitted by planning consultants Paul Butler and Associates.
Deputy council leader Coun David Molyneux said that the confirmation was “excellent news,” pointing out that the crumbling edifice helped to puncture community pride and was also a magnet, despite the authority’s best attempts, for teenage anti-social behaviour.
He said: “I am delighted that council officers and our partners at Clowes Development have made such excellent progress and we can look forward to this major investment in the area.”
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue said: “This is a visible sign of the hard work that has taken place to date. The agreement signals a brighter future for Hindley and will, at long last, finally remove the blight on the local community.”
Finance Director at Clowes Developments Ian Dickinson, said: “We are pleased to be working in conjunction with Wigan Council to re-develop and regenerate the former Borsdane Precinct.”