Starbucks row rumbles on

Wally Ashcroft and local resident Fred Bishop at the site of the proposed drive-thru at Windle Island.
Wally Ashcroft and local resident Fred Bishop at the site of the proposed drive-thru at Windle Island.

PLANS to create a drive through coffee house at a busy East Lancs junction have polarised opinion.

Scores of residents have voiced their opposition to Starbucks’ plan for Windle Island - citing arguments as diverse as traffic congestion and the overwhelming smell of coffee!

But a growing number have also told of their support for the proposal, which would bring 20 much-needed jobs to the town.

Last week Fred Bishop, of Crantock Road, said plans to create a drive-through Starbucks next to the Tesco Express would create havoc on roads in the area - despite the firm’s offer to install a pedestrian crossing refuge island in the middle of Rainford Road.

He said: “Windle Island is already designated a high-risk accident blackspot, and this development would just make things worse.

“We think it shows a lack of sensitivity to the adjacent St Helens Crematorium too. With an outside sitting area proposed, there’s always the possibility that people could be laughing and joking within earshot of bereaved families.”

Mr Bishop, who has been backed by local councillor Wally Ashcroft, added: “It’s hard to oppose a plan that could create 20 jobs - particularly in the current economic climate - but surely there’s a better place this could go.”

But among the Windle residents supporting the proposal are Reporter readers Kevin Boyce and Pat Marsden - who have both told of their frustration at local “knee-jerk” opposition to the plan.

Mr Boyce, of St Georges Avenue, said: “This proposal offers sustainable jobs. We need leadership in our community and a vision for the future instead of just saying no to everything.

“If people are worried about the amount of traffic at Windle Island then something needs to be done to the junction - but that’s not Starbucks’ fault.”

A Starbucks spokeswoman said: “We believe that a drive thru on this vacant site would be a positive addition to the community. Customers would mainly come from existing passing traffic. And the proposed outdoor seating area will be located on the opposite side of the development - away from the crematorium.”