The eyesore site of a once famous Wigan nightspot is finally to be given a new lease of life.
But it’s not quite how the owner of the land intended.
For decades Pemps enjoyed legendary status among clubbers for its atmosphere, music and even the notorious queues outside, where the proprietor Barbara Calderbank would judge who could go in and who couldn’t.
But both Barbara and the Dorning Street premises are long gone and in recent years the corner plot has been in a sorry state, having been reduced to rubble and fallen victim to fly-tippers.
After the club closed in 2006 it was bought by pub chain boss Tony Callaghan with the intention of turning it into a car park for his neighbouring Indiependence venue. But ever since he has been locked in a legal battle with Network Rail over a party wall at the rear.
Now he has decided, with there being no sign of resolution in sight, to turn the spare land instead into a beer garden and smoking area for Indiependence. This can be done without needing to sort out the wall and it has been granted planning permission. When this will happen, however, is not clear.
Mr Callaghan is busy with several other projects and 2017 has not got off to the best of starts. Already this year he has suffered a house burglary, a freak fire which burned down a pub he owned in Chorley and last Thursday thieves stole a three-ton digger from the site of the former Bear’s Paw/Last Orders pub on Standish High Street which is currently being converted into another of his Fifteens chain.
The yellow caterpillar plant was loaded onto a trailer towed by a transit van just minutes after builders had left the site for the day at 4pm. A replacement has ensured work isn’t held up.
Mr Callaghan said: “It has been a tricky year so far but we do fully intend now to press on with the Pemps site. It is not pretty there and fly-tippers have made it worse. I can’t give a date of when it will be turned into a beer garden just a the moment though.”