PLANS to temporarily close a busy Westhoughton road to allow licensed premises to seat customers on the street have been scrapped.

Businesses on Market Street would have been able to apply to use the road space as an outdoor seating space for customers, while giving enough room for pedestrians to pass by at a safe distance.

The order, which would have been in effect for three months, proposed closing Market Street to traffic from 2pm to 5am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Although many customers saw the appeal of the scheme, firms on the street, and nearby residents, weren’t so keen.

Cllr David Wilkinson said: “There were three proposals put forward for Market Street, it was one of those bizarre ideas from government about closing streets off.

“I’d seen one closed in the Northern Quarter when I was heading to work, but the thing is that you can avoid that closure because there’s street all around it.

“It generated a lot of feedback, some licensed premises said ‘no way, not interested’, a lot of non-licensed firms were concerned about access agreements, and residents on side streets asking ‘how the hell do I get home?’.”

There are ten licensed premises on Market Street which would have been able to apply for use of the road.

The firms would have had to provide their own furniture, much like other outdoor seating spaces, but would have been able to operate as if the space were part of their regular premises if permission was given.

A similar idea for Lee Lane in Horwich was also dropped after opposition.

Orders for Churchgate and Nelson Square in the town centre have been approved, with Northern Monkey and The Venue Bar on Churchgate both granted pavement licences from 2pm to 11pm Thursday to Saturday.

Cllr Wilkinson added: “I did send a list of the issues, but the plans also attracted a lot of support from members of the public.

“They would have been the people who would be quite happy to sit outside on the tables and chairs.

“There just wasn’t enough support to outweigh the concerns about the proposals put forward.

“I think the time played a big part in people’s decisions, it’s started at two in the afternoon – this is probably what generated a lot of opposition.

“As part of the town centre strategy we will be looking at Market Street to consider more permanent plans to keep everyone happy.

“There are nearly as many opinions as there are grains of sand on a beach so we will be doing more in-depth research about what could be done to give more support to businesses.”