Horwich fishery's controversial cafe plan gets council backing
A CONTROVERSIAL application to allow a Horwich fishery to open up its cafe to the public has been backed by councillors.
The cafe at Curley’s Fishery was only supposed to be used by fishermen using the lake, as allowed in the planning permission given back in 2008.
But planning officers took action after discovering members of the public were visiting the cafe and that a designated ‘classroom’ was being used for functions, weddings and wakes.
Following an enforcement notice, the fishery owners applied to change the restrictions of the permission to allow it to stay open until 8.30pm, and extend the use of the cafe and classroom to all.
They also sought permission to host businesses selling Christmas trees or ice creams from a mobile cart on the patio area.
Bolton Council planning officers called on councillors at Thursday’s meeting to refuse the application, arguing that any changes would constitute an inappropriate commercial development on green space land.
Gary Russell, on behalf of the Wallsuches Residents’ Group, said they strongly objected the changes: “The planning conditions were approved to prevent another retail business and to protect the residents from any growth from traffic and erratic parking, which we have experienced.
“It should remain a fishery, supported by the cafe, and we are against the growth in retail.”
But planning agent Frank Whittaker, for Curleys, said the maintenance of the landscape and fishery depended on the cafe, which could not be sustained by fishermen alone.
He said: “This cafe is an absolutely essential income to the whole fishery. Without it, that whole fishery cannot be sustained. If this goes, £600,000 of investment, full and part-time jobs, a family home and business will go down the tube.”
Councillors approved Curley’s bid to open up the restrictions, following more discussions with planning officers.
Cllr Bob Allen said: “It is naive to imagine that this is quality green space could be provided without some associated commercial activities.
“I’m happy to support this but I do think that we need to get the conditions right, so that the fishery has to continue – it can’t just disappear.”
Read more about the history of the fishery's expansion plans here:
- Fishery is angling for music and drink licence
- Expansion at fishery a step nearer
- Fishery boss defends expansion plan
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