New store not wanted here, says councillor

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A MAJOR supermarket chain wants to build a new store in Wigan.

A site on Preston Road, Standish, has been identified for the project which promises to bring hundreds of new jobs to the township.

But protesters claim that new customers will completely overwhelm the existing road system whose town centre crossroads already becomes gridlocked at peak times. Rumours sweeping the village that Sainsbury’s are the unnamed high street grocery giant behind the scheme now received by the council were denied by a spokesman at its headquarters today.

At least one existing business – a funeral director’s – would have to move in order to accommodate the building and carpark.

Agent Alban Cassidy for applicants Venetian Estates also didn’t respond to queries about which supermarket company would tenant the 2,984m sq supermarket site, which would include a pharmacy and cafe.

But Standish Independent councillor George Fairhurst – founder of the Save Standish pressure group – is now pledging to “lead the fight” against the supermarket development.

The scheme will occupy all the land vacant behind Nos 24 to 82 Preston Road.

Coun Fairhurst said: “If this goes through it will completely change the character of the area.

“It will generate more traffic in an already congested area and bring more problems to Standish crossroads which is already one of the most horrendous bottlenecks in Wigan.

“Standish already has four supermarkets and we just don’t need any more.”

He is also concerned that the proposed access is “very close” to Avondale Street, near to the existing Lidl and Co-op stores and leading on to Bradley Hall trading estate, the site of a large current housing estate application set to become significantly busier should the scheme be approved.

A council spokesman said that it was too early to have determined whether planners will recommend approving the supermarket scheme.

It is now scheduled to come before councillors on September.

In documentation to support the application, Preston-based agents Alban Cassidy said that the scheme will “extend the retail offer that is available for Standish” adjacent to the town centre.

It stated: “It will replace the approved mixed use development on the same site and consolidate the site into a single consent.

Servicing the supermarket, the agents said, will take place from the side of the site with access from Preston Road.

Alban and Cassidy said: “Highway safety and impact on the existing traffic flows have been a key consideration in development of the scheme.”

The agents comment that the supermarket site, which is 100m north of the town centre, is “well positioned to take advantage of established vehicular and pedestrian routes in addition to frequent public transport services.”