Hopes for social club ‘teetering on the edge’

Pemberton Central Labour Club
Pemberton Central Labour Club

HOPES of a last-gasp reprieve for a Labour club which acts as a “focal point” in a Wigan community remain despite plans to knock it down.

Planning permission has been granted to owners BeerCellars to transform the Pemberton Central club into a new housing development after years of failure to return a profit.

But members of the Enfield Street facility’s committee are issuing a late plea for potential benefactors to come forward before time runs out.

Former chairman Bill Burrows told the Evening Post: “A lot of the regulars said their goodbyes on Saturday night and there were some tears.

“The club has been a focal point for people in Pemberton for 88 years but we are expecting it to close in the next few weeks.”

Mr Burrows said BeerCellars owner John Ravenscroft refurbished the venue five years ago in an attempt to give it a new lease of life.

But business has dwindled since and the planning application was submitted last year for the change of use.

Members have expressed concerns that there is already a number of empty houses near to Enfield Street and building extra homes would not be the best way forward.

Mr Burrows added: “John has given us four or five years that we would not have had.

“A group of members have offered to contribute funds but we are amateurs and would need a benefactor or social enterprise to perhaps take over and buy it out. There is still time but we are teetering on the edge.”

Last year 168 club-goers signed a letter calling for planning officials to block permission for the new housing development.

Many complained the first they had heard of the plans was when the application was posted on a nearby lamppost.

Mr Burrows said although the club’s profits were on the slide, it had maintained a loyal following who were keen to keep the ever-decreasing clubland scene in the borough continue.

The planning application was granted late last year with the permission to raze the club and build nine dwellings expiring in September 2017.

To view the plans, visit http://kinnear.wigan.gov.uk/ using the reference code A/14/79465