Open (nearly) All Hours

Hughes the Booze
Hughes the Booze

WIGAN Council has given the go-ahead for a convenience store to open nearly 24 hours a day – despite objections from police and scores of local residents.

The application for a licence to extend the opening hours of a former off-licence in Ashton was submitted to Wigan Council by Dinil Omith Ltd.

Furious residents say they will now appeal.

Anuradha Vishaujith Margal Salwatura who runs two other convenience stores across the North West will open the Nisa store on Bolton Road – which was originally occupied by Hughes The Booze – from 6am until 2am Monday to Friday and 7am until 2am at the weekend.

From 11pm the store will serve customers through a hatch for security measures.

Residents and Neighbourhood Inspector Ann Scott opposed the move due to concerns that such opening hours combined with the provision and selling of alcohol would perpetuate Ashton’s problem of anti-social behaviour and binge-drinking culture.

Paul Douglas, licensing consultant who represented Mr Salwatura, said: “We accept all of the objections, but Mr Salwatura feels they are based on problems created by the previous occupiers.

“Please take this out of the equation as it is not relevant to the application. We don’t think this store will increase any local problems or add to traffic and, when people get to know Mr Salwatura, they will be pleasantly surprised.”

Insp Scott said: “Anti-social behaviour in Ashton is a constant battle, despite licenses and CCTV, it is still a problem.

“The shop is adjacent to residential properties and these people just want a quality of life, yet approving this will unduly compromise that.”

Dinil Omith Ltd’s new license was approved with the conditions that it operated a Challenge 25 Policy and that it adhered to a PPN12, therefore providing sufficient waste bins and keeping the shop frontage clean and tidy.

Ruth Green, of Town Green Residents’ Association, said: “We are gutted. People’s lives are going to be disrupted further and we will appeal. This business of serving through a hatch and increasing opening hours has set a precedent for the rest of the borough now.”

Labour Councillor Ann Rampling added: “So many people are upset. We are looking into appealing this decision.”

Mr Douglas added after the meeting: “We are very pleased with this decision and Mr Salwatura wants to work with the community.”