Protestor thrown out of council meeting over Wigan town centre redevelopment plans

  • Watch the incident unfold at the meeting of Wigan Council.


A woman was thrown out of a council meeting in Wigan following an outburst in which she accused councillors of having 'blood on their hands'.

Maureen O'Bern interrupted the planning committee by shouting from the public gallery during a meeting about the redevelopment of Wigan town centre.

Plans to demolish the Galleries shopping centre and Wigan Market to make way for the new development worth £190m were later given the green light.

A hotel, 464 homes and a multimedia centre with a cinema, ten-lane bowling alley and indoor mini golf are planned.

A new modern market hall with stalls, shops and office space is set to be built alongside apartment blocks, food and drink outlets and entertainment venues.

A hotel, 464 homes and a multimedia centre with a cinema, ten-lane bowling alley and indoor mini golf are also planned as part of the Galleries 25 project.

But Wigan council has been criticised for handing a £135m construction contract to BCEGI UK - a company which is owned by the Chinese state.

Ms O'Bern held images of Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps as she spoke from the public gallery, saying: "You've all got blood on your hands."

The meeting was temporarily adjourned until Ms O'Bern, a former council librarian, left the room.

The UK has formally recognised the persecution of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province of China as a genocide - but trade still continues with the country.



BCEGI UK, the British branch of the company which is headquartered in Beijing, says it pays taxes and reinvests all of its profits within the UK.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, who is also the shadow foreign secretary, said she received assurances that the company has no links to the Xinjiang province.The company is part of a joint venture partnership with developer Cityheart.

Speaking after the planning committee meeting, Cityheart director Warren Taylor said the company is 'delighted' to have secured planning permission.

The planning committee approved the hybrid application by 10 votes to 4.

The planning committee approved the hybrid application by 10 votes to 4.