The canalside Bridge 63 at Red Rock is more than 100 years old and for generations was a thriving hostelry.
But despite its idyllic setting in a relatively affluent area with many Haigh Hall visitors passing by, in 2011 it fell foul of the pub industry’s decline and closed its doors.
Since then the pub, which was formerly known as the Crawford Arms, has become a source of concern for locals and councillors who have been calling for the eyesore’s renovation.
Well now it seems that their calls are to be answered.
In fact the businessman whose firm has owned Bridge 63 for several years says that, unbeknownst to many, a great deal of works have already taken place on the interior.
And once another project in Wigan has been finished in, it is to be hoped, in about four months’ time, work in earnest will begin on completing the Red Rock venture and re-open it as a pub, restaurant and coffee bar.
The businessman, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Wigan Observer: “The Bridge 63 building has been standing empty for far too long. This has been a source of annoyance to a lot of people and I completely get that.
“I would have liked to have got this project finished a long time ago but circumstances militated against it, including other business commitments and market forces – including Brexit – which led it to slip down the priority list.
“But anyone who thinks nothing has happened to the place since we took over is wrong. All the major internal structural works have been done.
“I have built two extensions, taken walls down, new drains have been put in, there are new stairs into the cellar – in fact I have moved three staircases and created more openings. To the untrained eye it would look like there is a lot still to do, but when you are at the plasterboard stage you have broken the back of it.
“Once the project we are currently working on is done – the plan is about four months’ time – then we can get stuck into this again, give it the attention it deserves and finish it off.”
He scotched long-circulated rumours that renovation was prohibitively expensive due to serious underlying structural problems and another about a nearby infestation of Japanese knotweed which can damage property.
He said there were no major structural issues and that while there had been a knotweed issue, it hadn’t been a major one and that it had virtually been eradicated.
The businessman said that he was very keen on keeping the site as a pub-restaurant for the community and the last thing he would want was for the land to be given up for housing and another pub be lost forever.
As to how it will be run is up in the air at present. He said: “I will either find a good manager myself or run it as a joint enterprise. Options are still open.
“In the meantime I still need to make some decisions about the lay-out of the place.
“But it’s very exciting that people should be seeing changes within months and eventually it will be back in business.”
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