Coffee plan delays a real grind

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PLANS for a drive-through coffee outlet and new retail units at a Wigan shopping hub have been pushed back far into next year.

Town hall planning officers were expected to make a decision on the revamp of Robin Park’s retail area following the end of a consultation period in September.

But a redesign of the plans has caused a significant delay with amended documents only submitted to planning officers this week.

If approval is eventually granted, a section of parking spaces at the Loire Drive retail park would be replaced with the coffee shop and three other retail units.

The original planning documents showed the drive-through coffee shop with Costa branding although the firm opted not to attach itself to the plans.

The retail park already houses one branch of Costa as part of the Next store and a drive-through Starbucks outlet is less than a mile away near to Martland Park.

Occupants for the three retail units are still to be confirmed but one is rumoured to be a Subway.

The Evening Post approached Costa this week but did not receive a response in relation to the plans.

In July, a statement from the coffee giant said: “We are currently evaluating drive-thru opportunities in the Wigan area, but have no firm plans in place at this stage.

“We work closely with planning departments across the country to open new stores for the benefit of their local communities, creating new jobs and providing attractive and popular social meeting places.”

The four new units will be located opposite Burger King and the Carphone Warehouse, close to the entrance to the retail park from Robin Park Road.

A revamp of the shopping area at the expense of car parking spaces is understood to be favoured by current occupants as two multi-million pound projects are set to draw shoppers back into the town centre.

Outline planning approval has been granted to a major overhaul of the Galleries shopping centre which includes leisure facilities, shops and a cinema, all of which are offered in the vicinity of Robin Park. And retail units and restaurants are also part of plans for the Tower Grand hotel proposal next to the Grand Arcade shopping centre, although planning documents are yet to be submitted.