Revealed: How chip shop scuppered grand plans for £440,000 glass entrance at Bolton Market
GRAND plans for a £440,000 glass entrance to the revamped Bolton Market had to be scrapped after a fish and chip shop owner refused to budge.
The David and Goliath fight saw Bolton Council offer £40,000 to Pilling’s Fish and Chips to move — later upping the figure to more than £100,000.
But owner Peter McGowan, who suffered a downturn in business while work was carried out on the £4.5 million revamp, remained defiant.
The council eventually mothballed its plans to give the new market a grand entrance in view of the new interchange, currently being built in Great Moor Street — citing increased costs and feedback from traders.
The entrance will now remain at its current site near Moor Lane bus station.
Pilling’s was set up by Mr McGowan’s father-in-law Derek Pilling, who fled to Britain from Guernsey aged five during the Second World War.
The restaurant has been in Bolton since 1968 and had been at its current location, at the corner of Bolton Market, in Black Horse Street, for 16 years.
Mr McGowan said: “All that struggle, 40-odd years of history, would have been gone at a stroke if the council had their way.
“We found out the day before the first meeting when they just came in and gave us two options — to relocate or receive compensation.
“The council essentially announced our shop was no longer going to exist.
“I was staggered when they offered £40,000 as our turnover was quite high at the time.
“I said it should be more like £300,000, which they said they couldn’t afford.
“Eventually we had to employ a solicitor to negotiate with the council. At least they have given us some compensation for loss of earnings.”
A council spokesman said: “When we released the first set of plans, a new entrance on the corner of Black Horse Street and New Street was an option that we considered.
“We decided not to proceed with the new entrance and revised the plans quite early on.
“This was after discussions with traders but more so because the cost of the new entrance was much higher than anticipated.”
Pilling’s was not the only shop affected during the revamp.
Farooq Anwar, owner of Smart Clothing, said: “Our shop crosses over three units, yet they had them divided up on the plans and we had not been told what was going to happen.
“We’ve been here since 1995 so you would have thought we’d have had more communication. Our business has obviously gone down a lot while the work has been going on but they’ve even dragged their feet over compensation.”
A council spokesman added: “We have tried our best to help all of our businesses, including Pilling’s and Smart Clothing, through the disruption.
“Consultation started in November, 2011 and as well as group meetings we have held individual meetings with traders to address any specific concerns.”
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