Wigan councillors to discuss controversial bar plans

Residents of a busy Wigan street are up in arms about plans to open an upmarket cafe bar on the site of a former ice-cream parlour.
The former Will and Joe's cafe, once Sherrington's hardware store. Plans have been submitted to open it as a cafe barThe former Will and Joe's cafe, once Sherrington's hardware store. Plans have been submitted to open it as a cafe bar
The former Will and Joe's cafe, once Sherrington's hardware store. Plans have been submitted to open it as a cafe bar

The application, which has already been granted a licence by the council, will be the focus of a debate at Wigan Council’s next planning committee meeting on Tuesday, outlines plans to convert the former Will and Joe’s cafe on Kenyon Road into a small drinking establishment.

Andrea Cox, of Wily Fox Brewery, has defended the proposals for “Sherringtons” which have come under criticism from some Swinley residents who claim that the bar will have a “devastating effect” on the lives and wellbeing of neighbours.

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Councillors Michael McLoughlin, George Davies and Lawrence Hunt have called for the application to be considered amid concerns that the establishment will result in “noise and disturbance”, and increase in traffic.

Nineteen letters of objection have been sent in by Kenyon Road residents and neighbours on surrounding streets complaining of similar issues.

One disgruntled resident wrote: “When we bought our home over 30 years ago it was in a residential area of good character and a good area to live in that is peaceful with good neighbours.

“It seems highly unfair to let four businessmen decide to open a bar with music and alcohol from 9am to 11.30pm yards from our front doorstep.

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“We most definitely do not wish this to happen, with the noise of people leaving the premises and loud music and people talking keeping us awake.”

People also voiced concerns that the area is “not suitable” for another pub due to the existing establishments nearby including The Brocket Arms and Lily and Arthur’s.

Another resident said: “I go to bed each night at 9pm. How could I be expected to get a restful night’s sleep if a pub opens across the road that is open until 11pm each night?

“I believe this proposal is exceptionally inconsiderate to the local residents and totally unnecessary when there is already a late night pub just a two-minute walk up the road.

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However, despite the objections, Wigan planning officers have recommended that the application be approved with conditions which include restricting the use of the terrace after 10pm and limiting delivery hours.

The report, which will be debated by councillors, says that if the building were to be converted into a corner shop, this would also result in the sale of food and alcohol off the premises.

Phil Cox, co-owner of The Wily Fox, said: “The bar will target a mature and discerning audience with a carefully curated selection of craft beers sourced predominantly from award-winning Wigan based micro brewery Wily Fox which is on Martland Mill.

“We were granted a license to serve alcohol by Wigan Council back in December 2017 and we’re delighted that the council’s planning department supports the application and that there have been no objections from the Local Authorities, Highways or the Police.

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“For example additional glazing and air conditioning so that windows won’t need to be opened and CCTV installation.

“We believe that with right design implementation of the property itself, and with operational measures around noise, safety and quiet dispersal put in place, the impact on the neighbourhood will be positive.

“One of the business partners is the property owner with their main business based immediately next door, so we are very mindful of the neighbourhood.”

The officer’s report expands on this, saying: “The property is in commercial use and has been used for a range of activities historically as its current authorised use would permit a cafe or restaurant.

“The small scale of the proposal should ensure that the amenity of neighbouring residents should remain unaffected by the range of activities proposed from within and outside the building.”