Boss has grand plans for eyesore Wigan pub

The Cross keys pub
The Cross keys pub

An eyesore Wigan pub is to be given a new lease of life if a new planning application is approved.

The Cross Keys Hotel in Ashton has long been empty and has become one of the area’s least attractive buildings, with its boarded-up windows, flyposting and even trees and large weeds growing out of the roof.

But that could change under new plans from pub magnate Tony Callaghan, who has submitted documents to the town hall to revive the Bolton Road watering hole.

The documents include blueprints for a single-storey extension to the side and rear of the existing building, the creation of a new beer garden following the demolition of part of the building’s rear.

Mr Callaghan, who runs the Fifteens chain of bars across the borough, has owned the Cross Keys for two decades. He first revealed his plans to redevelop the eyesore site in 2017, but hit stumbling blocks over rising costs.

Now, after substantially investing in renovations, plans are afoot to re-open with an exciting new offering for customers.

Mr Callaghan said: “I’ve owned the building for 20 odd years, and I’ve always wanted to get back and do something new with it.

“We recently spent a lot of money having the roof restored at the front, and now we’ve put in an application to knock down the back of the building, which is where the old toilets and yard were. The intention is to put an extension onto the back of the pub so it will be a lot bigger, so it can have new toilets, and an open plan kitchen area.”

Over the five years since its closure, the Cross Keys has had an unsightly facade, covered in fly posters and growing vegetation.

It has been the subject of much dismay from local residents who were unhappy with its condition, given its prominent location on one of the main routes in Ashton town centre.

Mr Callaghan hopes to excite locals’ interest in the pub once again.

He said: “I want to bring it up to the standard that Ashton deserves. I want to make it into a unique pub. I don’t want it to be like the Fifteens. We’ll do real ales, unusual beers, wines and spirits, with a great food offering. The time is right for it.

“It will be great if people support it. One of the reasons I closed it down was because we weren’t getting that support that we needed. So we’re hoping the residents of Ashton will support it. It will be an asset to the town. It doesn’t look the best being closed, so we’re hoping we’ll be successful with our application.”

Full details of the planning application can be viewed at wigan.gov.uk using the reference A/19/87714/FULL