Pub to be bulldozed for store

The Oddfellows Arms
The Oddfellows Arms

ANOTHER former Wigan community pub is being threatened by a supermarket scheme.

Agents have lodged a bid with Wigan Council to flatten The Oddfellows Arms in Downall Green Road, Bryn, to make way for a convenience store.

The struggling pub has changed hands on a number of occasions over the past two years and finally closed altogether at Christmas.

Manchester planning agents Ludlam Associates have declined to comment on rumours sweeping the area that they are acting on behalf of high street giant Tesco, which is engaged in an expansion programme for its ‘Express’ stores, based on former pub and club sites when they become vacant. This week, after a planning battle, Tesco opened a new store inside the converted Alexandra Hotel in Whelley.

Council chiefs say neighbours have until March 8 to take part in the consulation over The Oddfellows Arms and planning councillors expect to be in a position to decide the scheme in April.

The new scheme will also include an automatic cash machine.

Bryn Independent Coun Gary Wilkes, pictured, said that the plan marked the sad end of an era for a former popular community pub.

He will be formally objecting to the scheme because of a lack of parking, noise disturbance to residents and possible congestion issues at Bryn Traffic Lights.

Coun Wilkes said: “The development is in a residential area and just ask the residents from Poolstock what they think of the Tesco Express on their doorstep?

“In my opinion this will destroy the local economical future of Bryn Cross, not help it.

“I will try to get some common sense built into the planning application in the form of planning clauses if it does go ahead.”

He had noted that the pub had changed hands countless times over the past and it has been on the market for a year or more.

He added: “I remember the outdoor facility which nearly every pub had back in the 70s and early 80s. Sadly things never stop the same and pubs seem to suffer if they don’t diversify and move with today’s drinking habits, the smoking ban has not helped either.

“It will be missed if it does get knocked down.”

A Downall Green Road resident, who asked not to be named, claimed today that if a major supermarket was given permission to redevelop the pub site it would have a “major negative impact” on neighbouring residents and independent shops.

He said: “The traffic at the junction is a nightmare as it is and the extra cars a Tesco would bring would be chaotic at the Bryn Cross junction and severely affect resident parking.

“Noise will also be a concern with deliveries being prior to opening at 7am.”