Wigan nursery is '˜not for sale' say owners

The owners of a nursery in Wigan have strongly dismissed speculation that they are thinking of selling up - amid anticipated redevelopment work nearby.

Friday, 20th April 2018, 9:45 am
Stephen Murphy, owner of ABC Nursery, Orrell, upset by rumours the nursery is closing

Eileen Rigby and Stephen Murphy, who are behind the ABC Nursery in Orrell Road, have spoken out after it emerged that land behind the former council offices in Orrell had been placed up for auction.

Their premises are located immediately to the side of the old municipal building, and in front of the former recycling centre at the rear.

And it was this site, which has planning permission for 15 new homes, which was due to go under the hammer last weekend with Newton-based Pugh and Company.

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But this announcement has led to renewed rumours that the nursery’s owners are considering shutting up shop, so a wider development footprint can be drawn up by any prospective new owners.

Ms Rigby said: “We thought this had died a death when the library closed and then there was the sale of the council offices and the recycling centre, a little while back.

“When those became available there were rumours going about that we were selling the nursery, so they could build a lot more houses when they demolish this building.

“This has nearly cost us our business when we’ve no intention of doing this.

“I’ve had several people saying that they’ve heard we are selling up but it’s not true.”

She believes the rumours may amount to “mischief-making”, as Mr Murphy is a ward councillor for Orrell, and Ms Rigby is standing as a candidate for Labour in the May borough council election.

“People think there’s some kind of agenda when that’s never been the case. It’s just completely unfair on our business,” she added.

The couple have operated the nursery, which caters for babies to four-year-olds, since 1994.

Advertised with a reserve price of £500,000, the former recycling centre land failed to sell at the auction, which took place at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium.

Work has been under way to convert the former council offices into four apartments.

Other candidates for the Orrell ward include Denise Capstick, for the Liberal Democrats, and Conservative Party candidate Richard Clayton.