Wigan real ale bar to remain closed after crowds cause problems during offer of take-out service
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Large groups of people congregated outside the Holmes House Avenue watering hole on the grass and paths when takeaway drinks were available last week, supping pints and blocking access to stores at Winstanley Shopping Centre.
The service was canned after two days and the experience has now convinced the bar’s owners that there is too much risk of a repeat should they open the doors this weekend.
The reopening of Real Ale Revolution has, therefore, been postponed indefinitely.
The bar’s owner Hobby Alam says this could put the business in a difficult financial position but stressed that safety came first.
Mr Alam said: “We had all the measures in place but people weren’t abiding by the rules. A lot of people were out there congregating and sitting on the grass and people were unhappy because they couldn’t get to the shops.
“There are a lot of businesses on the precinct and people need access to them.
“We’re just going to shut until it gets better. Saturday is going to be crazily busy and we thought it’s just not going to be safe for us to open.
“We will let everybody else open and see how things pan out.
“It’s disappointing and frustrating and we might not even keep our heads above water but keeping people safe and healthy is more important than money in our pockets.
“We decided ourselves it just wouldn’t be fair on the residents to open.”
Residents complained about the crowds of people enjoying a drink in the hot weather when the take-out service was offered.
One Winstanley resident, who asked not to be named, said: “There wasn’t a blade of grass showing. Elderly people couldn’t walk down the path to the shops because there were people all over the show.”
Wigan Council said Real Ale Revolution One had worked with the licensing department at every stage.
The local authority and the bar said messages had been posted on social media warning people not to gather around the premises in large numbers and staff had been out to clear up the shopping area each evening.
More discussions will now have to take place between the town hall and the bar ahead of any reopening date.
Mr Alam said realistically Real Ale Revolution One would not be able to welcome customers back for a number of weeks.
Local councillors expressed support for the business but said the right decision to postpone reopening had been made given the recent problems.
Coun Paul Kenny, who represents Winstanley ward in the council chamber, said: “As we emerge from the lockdown, I know that people want to return to some sense of normality and enjoying a drink, particularly during the warm weather, is a welcome boost for residents as well as the real ale bar.
“Due to complaints from users of the precinct and nearby local residents we have made representations to the local police, council and the centre landlord to ensure that the health and safety of people entering the Winstanley Shopping Centre environment during the current Covid-19 pandemic is protected.
“I don't want to see any of our local businesses suffer unduly but it is important that both users and businesses ensure that all users of the centre can do so safely. I welcome the announcement by Real Ale Revolution and look forward to working with them to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment when it reopens.”