Wigan community split over razing 192-year-old premises for care village

The former Chadwick's Emporium in Standish
The former Chadwick's Emporium in Standish

Wigan councillors are to consider proposals to demolish a notable building to make way for retirement homes.

A bid to knock down Wellington Place, which dates from 1817, has split opinion in Standish, with one councillor describing the move as "unjustified".

An artist's impression of how the care village to replace Chadwick's Emporium at Standish would look

An artist's impression of how the care village to replace Chadwick's Emporium at Standish would look

The building served as a bistro within the Chadwick Family’s Fine Food Emporium, which closed in July having served the township since 1761.

Wellington Place’s appearance has undergone several transformations since its construction, including the addition of a Victorian-style conservatory.

This has left the building with "limited aesthetic merits", according to a heritage statement submitted on behalf of developers McCarthy and Stone.

A lack of listed status, and the presence of "more complete" examples of rare buildings elsewhere in the area, have also worked against it.

The report says: “Wellington Place is one of the oldest and most architecturally significant buildings dating from the early development of High Street but the modernisation and extensions have regrettably detracted from its historic value.”

McCarthy and Stone also say it is unfeasible to convert the site’s existing buildings, including Wellington Place, for the proposed 92 apartments.

The site would include two blocks with 61 assisted living apartments for elderly patients in one, and 31 retirement living flats in the other.

Wigan Council received 19 objections to the scheme including from its own conservation officer and Coun Adam Marsh, with both raising concerns about the loss of Wellington Place

“Coun Marsh has expressed some support to the form of elderly accommodation,” says a report to the council’s planning committee.

“However he considers the scheme to have an adverse impact on the character and setting of the Conservation Area, with the loss of Wellington Place unjustified.”

Community group Standish Voice also expressed disappointment in the planned demolition, as well as the closure of Chadwick’s, but recognised the need for elderly homes in the area.

The council received a further seven letters in support of the development, which has been recommended for approval by the planning committee on September 10.

If councillors back the plans, Wellington Place’s historic date stone will be preserved and fixed onto the new building.