Councillor says 'no proof' that new Wigan bar will cause trouble

The former Will and Joe's cafe
The former Will and Joe's cafe
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Plans to transform a former ice-cream cafe into a microbar on the outskirts of Wigan town centre have been green-lit by councillors

Members of the town hall planning committee met yesterday to discuss the proposals for 57 Kenyon Road, which will see the now-vacant building turned into a upmarket cafe and bar.

The site was previously home to “Will and Joe’s” cafe, which closed after just two months of trading due to a spate of burglaries and arson attacks.

Four local businessmen will embark upon the new enterprise, including Phil Cox - co-owner of the Wily Fox Brewery. The bar, named “Sherrington’s” after the hardware store which used to occupy the site, will include a small outdoor seating terrace to the front of the building.

Numerous residents put forward objections citing that “crime and disorder” will increase in the area and that there will be an influx of traffic generated from visitors to the site.

However, the majority of councillors did not agree that the concerns were enough to justify refusing the plans.

Coun Jeanette Prescott, labour councillor for Pemberton ward, said: “People are putting objections in but there’s no proof there’s going to be a problem.

“You can’t suggest something is going to be a problem unless you actually know it’s going to be a problem.

“If they don’t follow the rules - you keep an eye on them to make sure they are doing a proper job. I don’t see a problem with the traffic, the only thing concerning is the possible noise outside. I agree with the application, I have no problem with it as long as people are not allowed to drink and sit outside after 10pm.”

Coun Susan Greensmith, labour councillor for Leigh West added that leaving the building empty could attract the sort of anti-social behaviour that residents are trying to avoid. I hope this will be sustainable and keep going,” she said. “Having something to eat and a drink is really nice. If it’s not taken over then it will be targeted. We have got a chance here to bring this building back to life.”

However not everyone agreed. Coun Hilton of Aspull New Springs Whelley, said: “It’s a residential area, we are now pushing town centre premises further out of Wigan.

“The residents do deserve a little bit of peace and quiet. It’s going to be a bad thing for them.”

Five councillors approved the plans, while Couns Stephen Murphy and Ray Whittingham rejected them and Coun Hilton abstained