A business owner in Horwich has applied to expand the opening hours of his store as he fights to survive.

Ian Hamer has run the cigarette shop by day and cocktail bar by night on Winter Hey Lane for eight years.

But he has been hit with a series of difficulties including people preferring to buy disposable cigarettes elsewhere, poor footfall in the area and economic troubles.

The business was originally called Vapour Shack but changed its name to Latitude at the turn of this year to reflect that it now does alcohol.

Mr Hamer has sold drinks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Now he has applied to Bolton Council for a licence to do live music and sell alcohol between 6pm and 9pm on Thursday, on Friday and Saturday between 6pm and 11.30pm and on Sunday between 3pm and 7pm.

He explained he was battling to keep the business going.

He said: “I have had a licence like this before I just want to extend it.

“I have tried karaoke before a couple of times.

“Since Covid everything has changed, I am just trying to find things to help the business.

“Four to six months after Covid it was ok, then it has fallen off.

“Nobody is buying E-cigarettes, they are buying disposables.

“I want to offer something a bit different.

“Everybody is struggling here, even when it is supposed to be busy it is quiet.

“There have been eight businesses shut down in the last two months.”

He had a suggestion of how the area in which he works could be improved.

He said: “The road here is like a race track.

“If they pedestrianised it you could have a market on it once a week.

“Or if it was one way you could make it one way and have parking bays so people can park.

“You cannot get parked here.

"It would cost nothing."

Mr Hamer also explained how different it was when he started the business.

He said: “Eight years ago it was brilliant.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

“It was busy all day.

“I worked all through the day then.

“Now I just open until ten until three then I open back at five.

“It is just said waiting for people to come in.

“It is just me who works here and my girlfriend helps out.”

Bolton Council is in the process of turning part of the street into a one way system.

Businesses in the areas have also launced loyalty schemes to encourage people to shop locally.

The card, called Hello Horwich,  can be purchased for £5, or £10 and includes a tote bag which has the map of Horwich on it.

It gives the holder access to exclusive offers in stores across the town with some offering discounts and others offering a free item with purchases.