Shop go-ahead could bring 450 jobs

An artist's impression of the new store
An artist's impression of the new store
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A SUPERSTORE is set to ring up a massive jobs bonus in Wigan.

After months of legal wrangling, high street giant Sainsbury’s now looks set to win approval for a large development which will bring more than 425 jobs to Golborne.

Planners are now recommending that a controversial move to change the status of an area of now dilapidated and partially let industrial estate to “retail” be approved by Wigan councillors as early as October.

Asda Walmart, which has a store in Edge Green Lane, is preparing a legal bid to halt the rezoning of the land.

Sainsbury’s wants to use the existing half-empty industrial estate off Bridge Street and hope to have the superstore open by mid-2014.

The scheme was submitted to town hall chiefs for consideration almost exactly a year ago, illustrating the depth of legal argument that has followed it.

Sainsbury’s store would be 60,000sq ft, with the site also including a petrol station on the former spinning and dyeing mill site, which borders the West Coast Main Line.

It will also include a 480-space car park available for town centre shoppers to use as well.

A pedestrian bridge and traffic roundabout is planned, along with the diversion of Millingford brook.

Former leader of the opposition on the council Peter Franzen – who has headed a campaign to support the Sainsbury’s bid – believes that the store could “transform” Golborne.

The Community Action Party chief and chairman of the Golborne Community Forum, who lives near the site, is pleased that St Helens Council has now withdrawn an objection.

And Mr Franzen said: “We are proud that the forum has been at the vanguard supporting and campaigning for Sainsbury’s development.

“This could be the best thing to happen to Golborne for years and will bring millions of pounds investment to Golborne after decades of neglect. The scheme is now backed by hundreds of letters of support.

“The 400-plus jobs are absolutely crucial, of course, but there are some real public gains that will mean a lot to this town such as toilets and the car park.

“This could bring people back into town, which is so important to the remaining businesses which have struggled or closed. Opening a Sainsbury’s could attract up to 2,000 people a day. The industrial estate is half-empty and falling into a real state of disrepair because the landlords can’t make it pay and the last thing we want is for another eyesore on this route into town.

“From my recent discussions with the planning department I now understand discussions are taking place about the level of funding that Sainsbury’s will provide to improve Golborne’s infrastructure.”

Regional Development Executive for Sainsbury’s Jo Hawley said: “Sainsbury’s is continuing to work with the Council to finalise the details of the application.

“We hope the Council will bring the application before their Planning Committee in the near future.”

Golborne Asda failed to respond to our inquiries about their “store-wars” objection to the Sainsbury’s scheme.

But in earlier documentation outlining objection, its lawyers dispute the council’s classification of the store as “out of town” and the council’s own retail impact on its 38-year-old operation in Golborne.