Wigan restaurant granted approval for outdoor seating area

A restaurateur has said customers still want to sit outside because of Covid.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 8:29 am
Updated Thursday, 14th October 2021, 10:30 am
Forbes on the Lane on Wigan Lane

Russell Jervis, who owns Forbes on the Lane in Wigan, has been granted planning permission for an outdoor seating area on St Aubyn’s Road.

It comes after residents living in neighbouring properties raised concerns about noise, parking and light pollution coming from the permanent extension.

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But Mr Jervis told the planning committee that restaurants are having to adapt.

He said: “The trouble at the moment with Covid is people don’t like coming inside. They want to stay outside and I totally understand that.

“For me to keep this business going, I have to adapt. We all have to adapt.”

Formerly the Bel Air Hotel, Forbes at the Lane reopened in July 2018 following an extensive renovation of the building which included a new roof and flooring.

The premises in Wigan Lane, which had been closed for 18 months, now features a 10-bedroom hotel, restaurant and bar with some outdoor seating.

The new owner, who has worked in the hospitality sector for 20 years, is planning to build a permanent canopy with a glazed roof and dwarf wall area on the south side of the building which will come at a cost of around £30,000.

A licence has already been granted for the patio area on St Aubyn’s Road.

However, residents complained that the proposal for a permanent outdoor seating area which would be neighbouring their homes is ‘far from suitable’.

Speaking at the planning panel meeting on Tuesday (October 12), objector Aidan Miners said councillors were being ‘misled’ about the application.

The resident who lives nearby told the panel that the increased capacity coupled with a lack of parking will make their street feel like a pub car park.

He said: “We do want Forbes to succeed as a business – we do recognise the pub industry has been impacted by Covid – but it can’t be at the expense of our right to live in a residential area.

“We don’t need more problems than the current set up already gives us.”

Four councillors on the planning committee voted against the application – but eight elected members voted in favour of the plans while one abstained.

Labour councillor Paul Kenny was the first to speak in support of the proposal.

He said: “I completely understand residents’ concerns. But as a committee we have to take into consideration our own policy and also the national policies that we exist under.

“Purely in planning terms, I can’t see – from listening to officers, supporters and objectors – a reason as to why we should not permit this development to go ahead.”

The application was approved with conditions which limit the use of the outdoor seating area to between the hours of 9am and 10pm every day.