Festive fun or a waste of cash?

Metrolite Industries, Warrington Road, Ince, complete with christmas trees

Metrolite Industries, Warrington Road, Ince, complete with christmas trees

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A LINE of Christmas trees adorn the front of an EMPTY building - all paid for by council tax.

Four Yuletide spruces have been erected along the front of the former Metrolite factory on Warrington Road.

Staff - who were all disabled - left the plant in September as part of the wide-ranging Government cuts.

The workshop had a £3.5m annual turnover and had been trading for more than 30 years.

Now a row is raging over the “insensitivity” of the display to the 34 disabled workforce which made UPVC window frames, wooden seats and staging - and the waste of public money.

The council has hit back, saying the trees are meant to be appreciated by the whole community.

Wigan Council’s Deputy Leader and Ince Ward member Coun David Molyneux said: “The Metrolite Industries building was chosen as the site of these trees because it is the only prominent building of its kind in the area.

“In that regard the trees were never meant to be appreciated by the staff at Metrolite alone but by the wider community of Ince and those who are passing through the area.

“Yes the factory has closed but we believe that the wider community should continue to gain enjoyment from the annual festive display. There’s nothing insensitive about that.”

But Hindley Green’s independent Coun Bob Brierley said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing when someone rang to tell him about the trees - and he got in his car to take a look for himself.

He said: “First of all they close down this factory which made great products, had a great management and workforce and a great future.

“Then, just to rub their noses in it, they order a line of Christmas trees for the front of an empty building

“This facility shouldn’t have been closed by the council and did such a lot of good.

“Well, I don’t think that the workers here will have a lot of Christmas spirit having been dumped onto the dole at a time when so many able-bodied people are chasing every job, never mind disabled people.

“It’s also a complete waste of the taxpayers’ money and not a very good example in the ward of the Cabinet member for the economy, is it?