Housing plan will forge ahead

Bulldog Tools
Bulldog Tools

A housing development plan on the site of an iconic Wigan firm has been tweaked to ensure the workforce will stay at its traditional home.

It is almost a year since the town hall gave a green light for Bulldog Tools in Ince to be demolished for 101 homes.

There is a clear need for greater shopping choice in the area and Aldi is looking at a variety of sites that fit both suitability and convenience for local shoppers

The application was made by parent company Bulldog Rollins and was hoped to fund a relocation.

Managing Director Stuart Elsom told the Observer the firm is now refurbishing two of the existing buildings to keep operations on the site but is still in talks with a developer about the rest of the land on Darlington Street East.

Mr Elsom said: “We were going to move to a location within the borough but we didn’t really want to move.

“Due to the nature of our business it was going to cause logistical issues to move even a few miles so I’m happy with this change of plan.

“We are still in negotiations for about three fifths of the site. If you go down there you can see that work has started on two buildings to bring them up to new standard - they were completely dilapidated - and we will keep employing in Wigan.

“Sometimes these projects take a long time and at the same time we are running the business.”

Mr Elsom added he had recently written to neighbouring residents to keep them informed of the plans.

The company switched off its ancient blast forges in 2013 after spiralling energy costs had led to the outsourcing spade, hoe and fork production to India. An announcement on the tweaked housing plans could be made later this year although rumours are rife that a supermarket could be part of the revised proposals.

The Observer understands discount supermarket chain Aldi could be front of the queue although the company has remained tight-lipped.

A spokesman said: “Aldi is keen to develop a new food store in Wigan.

“There is a clear need for greater shopping choice in the area and Aldi is looking at a variety of sites that fit both suitability and convenience for local shoppers.

“Aldi is committed to consulting with local communities regarding its planning applications and will of course inform residents, stakeholders, and other interested parties as and when a decision is reached on where to propose a new store.”