Convenience store plan next to pub is thwarted

There has been a victory for people power after top Wigan politicians decided to block plans to build a convenience store on open land next to a pub.

Thursday, 2nd August 2018, 3:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd August 2018, 5:38 pm
A campaign event at the Cherries Community Garden

The borough's cabinet decided this afternoon (Thursday) to retain the space alongside the Cherry Gardens pub which has been transformed into a garden by residents.

The council had been considering whether or not to dispose of the land, which would have allowed the pub's owner New River Retail to submit a planning application for a mini-supermarket.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However, the cabinet unanimously decided to save the space from future development, with council leader Coun David Molyneux saying he "truly understands people's passion" for their local area.

A huge campaign had swung into action to save the garden, with residents sprucing up the land and organising picnics there, more than 670 people signing a petition against the convenience store and the Friends of the Cherries Community Garden submitting an application for the space to become an asset of community value.

In total 190 objections to the land sale were received, with objectors worried about traffic and road safety as well as the need to protect green spaces.

After the meeting Coun Molyneux said: "The Deal is all about working in partnership with local people to improve our borough and about listening to local issues that’s why we have decided to keep it as a public space. We look forward to working with local residents to develop it further.”

The residents were also supported by Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Wigan Central ward councillors.

Elected representative Coun Michael McLoughlin said: "We are all very happy with this decision. One person said to me it proves Wigan is a listening council and it is nice to feel that.

"This is a very important space for local people."

The land will now remain under a long lease, held by the council, and the asset transfer application is being considered.