RESIDENTS who fear the Appleton area could become like a 'red light district' have launched petition against plans to open a sex shop in Albert Road.
Angry protestors have voiced disgust after they read a planning notice about the proposal and they intend to hold a major protest outside the earmarked premises in Albert Road if Halton Borough Council gives the go-ahead for the 'adult shop' to be opened.
One resident, a 69 year-old woman who is one of 25 people who have so far signed the petition, said: 'We are absolutely appalled and horrified to hear that the council is considering giving planning permission to such a shop.
'I use the Albert Road shops and I have always been proud to say that I'm from Widnes but if the sex shop gets opened then my feelings will definitely change.' She claims she has the backing of more than 40 people as well as three church's in Widnes including St Bede's, Our Lady's and St Michael's.
She said: 'I'm not over exaggerating but these kind of shops can pull in a lot of strange individuals on to the streets of Widnes and I do not want the kids who congregate in the area going into these places and seeing what kind of merchandise they have on offer.
'What is next on the agenda? Is Widnes going to boast a brothel in Albert Road?'
A major concern for the protesters is that the shop will be in close proximity to eight schools and they fear children will have to walk past the shop on their way to and from school.
She added: 'Widnes is a respectable shopping town and I feel it may be tarnished by the opening of a shop which promotes the wrong messages.
'We all feel strongly about it and we will are determined to air our views over this proposal. Having a sex shop is bad enough but it's what happens next is the most worrying thing and prostitutes walking the streets is not out of the question.
'Sex shops should be in cities and not towns like Widnes.'
A council spokeswoman said: 'An application for a sex shop licence for 119 Albert Road has been received by Halton Borough Council.
'A notice has been put in the press by the company involved and if there are any objections these must be put in writing to the council.
'The decision will be made by the council's regulatory committee who will consider very carefully all representation made in connection with the application.
'The powers of the committee to make a decision are limited by an act of parliament to issues concerned with the location and the applicant.'