Town eyesore stalemate

Cross Keys in Ashton
Cross Keys in Ashton

An eyesore former Wigan pub looks unlikely to get a new lease of life any time soon.

Residents this week complained to the Wigan Post about the state of the one-time Cross Keys on Bolton Road, Ashton, saying that it has become a blight on the town and something needs doing about it.

With boarded up windows, flyposting and even trees and large weeds growing out of the roof, it is one of the area’s less attractive-looking buildings.

And it doesn’t help that it occupies such a prominent position either: on one of the main routes into Ashton town centre.

Owner Tony Callaghan said today that he has every intention to redevelop it “in due course” but after a project to turn it into one of his otherwise successful Fifteens outlets didn’t work out, as well as having other projects currently in hand, an instant new plan looks improbable.

However the InntheBar boss did say that if someone did have a big idea for the place and wanted to buy the premises off him, he was ready to talk.

Meanwhile though, residents are not happy.

One householder, who did not wish to be identified, said: “This eyesore of a pub has been shut for over three years now.

“It has weeds growing outside of the building and roof.

“It still has posters on it saying ‘Opening Soon’ which have been on since it shut, believe it or not, and the website Innthebar.org does not respond.

“The residents of Ashton are sick and tired of seeing the building left in this neglected state.”

Mr Callaghan said: “I have owned that building for more than 20 years. We relaunched it as a Fifteens of Ashton but it just did not work so it was back to the drawing board.

“I certainly would like to redevelop and regenerate it in due course when the moment is right. But if someone wants to buy it in the meantime then I’m all ears.

“We did try to lease it out but there were no takers.

“As far as the state of it is called, I have spent thousands over the years keeping it weather-proof and trying to keep pigeons at bay which drop seeds leading to the tree and weeds growing.

“It also gets dirty from the huge amounts of traffic that passes it daily.

“But there is only so much you can spend on an empty building when it isn’t being used for anything or bringing anything in. Getting rid of a tree in a roof isn’t just a quick 50 quid: it could cost hundreds if not thousands.”

Mr Callaghan is currently redeveloping another long closed Wigan pub - the one-time Bear’s Paw/Last Orders in Standish - into another of his Fifteens.

He also plans to turn the site of the former Pemps nightclub on King Street West into a beer garden for his neighbouring Indiependence club.