A SUPERSTORE giant has won a legal battle that gives Wigan a massive jobs boost.
After years of legal wrangling, high street giant Sainsbury’s today formally unveiled plans for a large development which will bring more than 425 jobs to a former Wigan mining village desperate for employment.
Council planners are now recommending that its application including a controversial move to change the status of an area of dilapidated and partially-let industrial estate to “retail” be approved so that the hypermarket scheme can go ahead.
Asda Walmart, which has a store in Edge Green Lane but has declined to discuss its concerns, had been preparing a legal challenge to halt the re-zoning of the land and so thwart its high street rival.
Sainsbury’s wants to use the existing half-empty industrial estate off Bridge Street and hopes to have the superstore, incorporating cafe and filling station complex, open by mid-2014.
The scheme was first submitted to town hall chiefs for consideration almost one and a half years ago, illustrating the depth of legal argument that followed it.
Sainsbury’s store will be 60,000sq ft, with the site also including a petrol station on the former spinning and dyeing mill site, which borders the West Coast Main Line.
It will also include a 480-space car park - seen by council planners as planning gain - because it will be available for town centre shoppers to use as well.
A pedestrian bridge and traffic roundabout is planned, along with the diversion of Millingford brook.
Leader of the Community Action Party Peter Franzen - who lives near the site and has headed a campaign to support the Sainsbury’s bid - insists the store will “transform” Golborne.
The former council leader of the opposition and boss of the Golborne Community Forum is pleased that St Helens Council has now withdrawn an objection.
And Mr Franzen said: “We are proud that the forum has been at the vanguard supporting and campaigning for Sainsbury’s development.
“This will the best thing to happen to Golborne for years and will bring millions of pounds’ investment to Golborne after decades of neglect. The scheme is now backed by hundreds of letters of support.
“The 400-plus 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 will 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.”
Golborne Asda didn’t respond to the Wigan Evening Post’s inquiries about its “store-wars” objection to the Sainsbury scheme.
But in earlier documentation outlining objection, its lawyers dispute the council’s classification of the store as “out of town” and the council’s own retail impact on its 38-year-old operation in Golborne.