Historic Westhoughton pub to be turned into sheltered housing
AN HISTORIC Westhoughton pub is to be redeveloped into sheltered housing for elderly people.
Atherton-based Woodlands Care has applied to build 16 one-bedroomed flats on the site of the Red Lion pub in Wigan Road.
The home has already received permission to open a 52-bed care facility, specifically for dementia patients, on the vacant land and car park behind the pub.
If granted permission, Woodlands Care will knock down part of the Red Lion building but retain a section of it as part of a conversion.
The pub, which dates back hundreds of years, has been closed for about two years and Westhoughton council leader Cllr David Chadwick expressed his regret at one of town’s oldest buildings being redeveloped.
Tracy Freeman, a director at Woodlands, said: “Planning permission has gone in and we’re hopeful we will get the go-ahead.
“The flats will not necessarily be for people in need of help, more older people who want security and help close by.”
The flats will be self-contained and designed for people able to live independently, but residents will have access to help from the home when required.
Cllr Chadwick said the Red Lion building dates back 350 to 400 years, and that the town’s history group would be disappointed to see its outward appearance change.
“The history group is committed to retaining as many of the town centre’s period buildings as possible so obviously we’re disappointed with this,” he said.
“It’s only in the last four to five years that the pub has not been a vibrant venue, with the Houghton Weavers among music groups to have performed there.
“I would have liked the owner to have made more effort to retain the building in its current form.”
Cllr David Wilkinson, for Hoskers and Hart Common, welcomed the scheme, arguing that the pub was unlikely to survive much longer.
He said: “People are living a lot longer now and Westhoughton needs more care facilities. I think this is a very good solution really and having a care home in the town centre will only be a good thing.
“I think, given it’s in the middle of a town and not on green belt land, it would only be right to approve this.”
Mrs Freeman said building work for the new care home, which will cater expressly for dementia patients and will be Woodlands’ second care facility, will start in the next few weeks.
“We expect to start building before Christmas and the project will take about 12 months to complete. Spring 2015 is a realistic target for us to have the home operational.”
A decision will be made on the application to redevelop the Red Lion pub in the new year.
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