End of an era as former Labour club demolished

It is the end of an era after one of Wigan’s few remaining Labour clubs was demolished.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 2:57 pm
Bulldozers at work on the Labour club site in Scot Lane

It is the end of an era after one of Wigan’s few remaining Labour clubs was demolished.

Bulldozers have now razed the former Newtown Labour Club on Scot Lane, reducing the well-known building which has hosted high-profile events and community nights to piles of rubble.

The demolition was greeted with sadness by ward councillors who had attempted to look at ways to save the building after it abruptly stopped trading back in 2017.

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Wigan Council confirmed house-building company Little Scotland Developments has bought the site and the town hall received a section 80 demolition notice to dismantle the building from it.

A planning application for developing the site is now being awaited. Coun Pat Draper for Douglas ward said it was to be regretted that the building, which has been around since the 1970s, has now gone.

She also said it was now a waiting game to see what plans are put forward for the next chapter in the site’s story.

Coun Draper said: “I think this is a very sad day for the community of Newtown and for me personally.

“I was elected to be a Labour candidate there in 2016 and I met Harold Wilson there in 1974. There was a plaque inside commemorating that visit.

“It means a lot to the community. I have had quite a few enquiries from residents concerned about whatever is going to be built there.

“My family come from down there and it is important that we never forget where we have come from.

“We will now wait for the planning application to see what is going to be done and how it is going to affect the area.

“I will be keeping an eye on the situation and monitoring it for residents.”

Little Scotland Developments’ website says a new housing development in Wigan called Newtown Park is “coming soon”.

It is one of two sites in the borough the company is looking to develop, with a project called Collierbank Place also listed as coming soon.

Newtown Labour Club is just one of a string of similar venues which have shut their doors for good in the past few years.

Many Labour clubs have now vanished from Wigan while others, such as The Swinley, have lost their political affiliation and are now run as community venues.

Newtown is undergoing significant changes at the moment as the club is the second building in the area to be demolished this year, with St Edward’s Roman Catholic Church also being bulldozed in recent months.

Coun Draper said: “It is all change.

“We have to progress and move forward, I suppose, but that doesn’t mean we forget our roots.

“The decline in the Labour clubs has been horrendous. We had a club on every corner at one point. It’s really sad.”

We approached Little Scotland Developments for comment on its plans for the site but had not received an answer as we went to press.

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