There were some hilarious scenes at yesterday's meeting of Salford Council's planning panel, when Manchester United star Ryan Giggs turned up to speak in favour of plans to enhance Milan, the up market Worsley restaurant he co-owns with two other partners.
The applicants wanted to refurbish Milan by installing big sliding/folding doors at the front of the restaurant, creating a new outdoor patio terrace dining area, amongst other things. The plans are part of a re-brand of the posh eaterie, which will be re-named George's after George Gilbert Scott, architect of Worsley's St Mark's Church.
Ryan Giggs, speaking to the planning panel, explained that the partners were "proud long standing residents" who all went to Moorside School together and wanted to create a venue that enhanced Worsley Village in a positive way…
"Café culture is more popular now in the UK" he said "Everyone wants to eat outside and get the experience you get on holiday…hopefully we can deliver something Worsley hasn't got at the moment."
Addressing earlier objections from the Worsley Village Community Association that the sliding doors were `inappropriate' and would lead to an increase in `anti-social behaviour', Giggs added that Milan was a restaurant not a pub, and that the partners wanted to engage with the Village community…"At Manchester United we're very big in bringing in the community and want to do that with this restaurant."
Local Conservative Party councillors rounded on the restaurant plans, with first Councillor Robin Garrido speaking of the "grave concerns" of residents… We don't want Hollywood Boulevard in Worsley Village", and then Councillor Graham Crompton weighing in with another objection to the sliding doors on the grounds of noise… "You see it on the Continent and on holiday…but it's not in keeping with a conservation area".
Next up was Conservative Party Leader, Councillor Karen Garrido, also Chair of the Worsley Village Community Association… "We welcome the Milan wanting to get involved with the Village Association" she said, bemoaning the fact that Ryan Giggs had never switched on the Village Christmas lights…
"I've lived here twenty five years and it's the first time you've asked" laughed Giggs.
Karen Garrido then laid into the restaurant plans, asking the planning panel to give "more consideration to the sliding doors and canopies" which would "lead to noise generated by eating and drinking outside."
The panel laughed off the Tory objections, with Councillor Derek Antrobus accusing Robin Garrido of "living in the cultural dark ages…he shouldn't take Worsley with him", before unanimously agreeing to the proposals.
Once the vote was over, Karen Garrido* scuttled over to Ryan Giggs, tablet diary in hand, pleading with him to switch on the Worsley Christmas lights. Undignified doesn't begin to describe the scene…
* UPDATE: 12th November: Apology To Karen Garrido
The Salford Star now accepts that this last bit was a case of mistaken identity. The woman who scuttled over to Ryan Giggs was not Karen Garrido at all but the lady from the Worsley Village Community Association, who had also earlier been objecting to his plans. They do look very similar from the side.
The Salford Star is not above correcting mistakes and apologising for errors, and in this case we admit, we got the identity wrong - so we unreservedly apologise to Karen Garrido, and suggest she dyes her hair neon blue so that such mistakes don't happen again.