THIS iconic and once thriving Wigan pub could soon disappear and be used as a quick drop-by for a pint of milk.
There has been speculation that the Cherry Gardens, in Wigan Lane, has been bought by a supermarket chain, with the view to turn it into a convenience store.
It is thought Sainsbury’s or Co-Operative Food may have taken over the site.
The Marston’s chain has been selling off its least profitable pubs,
The rumour has caused more upset for CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), as more pubs are closing and being turned into supermarkets, including the Alexandra pub, in Whelley, which was converted into a Tesco.
Brian Gleave, treasurer at CAMRA, said: “CAMRA is very concerned about the number of pubs being converted into convenience supermarkets. It is sad news as once a pub is gone, it’s gone.
“It was a very popular pub and it was the start of the Wigan Lane pub crawl.
“It had gone through its problems in the last five to 10 years, but prior to that it was a thriving pub and I am sure it could be again with the right management.”
Ward councillor Michael McLoughlin said: “The council has not heard anything and no plans have been submitted but property developers do not need planning permission to change a pub into a store.
“They only need permission to change the frontage.
“The building would be hard to convert because it is an old building and it is in a conservation area so there would be regulations on what kind of signage it would need.
“It is a local landmark as it has been long established and as far as I know it is still trading.”
Neither Sainsbury’s or Co-Operative could comment but spokesmen for both said they were always looking at new opportunities for convenience stores.