Eastway Hub supermarket plans thrown out by councillors over traffic fears

Posted on - 4th November, 2014 - 8:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Fulwood, Greyfriars, Preston News, Redevelopment
The land off Eastway could become a new supermarket and other stores

The land off Eastway could become a new supermarket and other stores

Plans for a new supermarket in Fulwood have been thrown out by councillors during heated scenes at the Town Hall.

Five councillors, led by Greyfriars councillor David Hammond, walked out when their attempt to defer the application was refused.

Cllr Hammond argued the report on the development had been submitted too late for councillors to make an informed decision on it.

It left nine councillors to make a decision on the Eastway Hub plan, which would have seen a 4,000 square metre supermarket built alongside a petrol station, pub, restaurant and other stores.

Dubbed a mini-retail park by objectors the plans were voted down by one vote, as councillors said it would cause more congestion in the North of the city.

The city council’s planning committee heard from the director of Cottam Hall Properties, John Clarke, who is behind the Cottam Brickworks site which includes a proposed Tesco superstore.

He said: “It would adverseley and seriously prejudice the delivery of the current approved development at the Brickworks site and in turn the viability of the proposed District Centre.

“The Brickworks is a brownfield site, the development of which is a Government priority. Its high cost of remediation means that competition from a greenfield site, as in this application, would seriously undermine its commercial viability, especially in this current market. We have invested over £2 million to date on the site mainly on extensive planning requirements.

“The committee must choose between a strong, vibrant District Centre at the heart of the community or some shops at the edge of the community and risk a derelict site at its centre for many more years to come.”

Mr Clarke was backed by a number of councillors who warned their residents could face “another Tithebarn”.

Pauline Browne said: “The Brickworks has taken many years of hard work by people to get it to where it is today. We’re close to seeing things happening. We don’t want it to become another Tithebarn, going on and on and at the last minute all these external factors destroy what we’ve worked towards.”

The applicants, Hollins Strategic Land, were represented by Matthew Symons.

He said they had commissioned a retail study which showed there was enough operator demand for supermarkets in the North and North West of the city.

“We have had a lot of interest in this site,” he said, “and our report shows how although there would be some loss of trade in the area the expansion in population would mean there is enough demand.”

The Hollins report was backed up by a report by the city council’s independent retail expert.

Council officers confirmed the supermarket would be bigger than the Morrisons on the Docks, but smaller than the ASDA at Fulwood.

The Eastway site was described as “carpet bagging” by Greyfriars councillor Stephen Thompson.

He said: “They are all just trying to get in and secure sites before the Inspector makes his decision.

“The Local Plan states the needs for houses, not these kinds of mini-retail parks.”

Ingol councillor Neil Darby said the area couldn’t handle anymore traffic.

He said: “I often commute through this area and it is a nightmare. The traffic builds up all the way along Eastway. And then you’d add people turning in and out of a supermarket. The area just can’t cope.”

Councillor David Borrow supported the motion to refuse the application, he warned they could be creating another Deepdale Retail Park.

He said: “I just can’t support this. I imagine 20 years ago or so councillors looked at the Deepdale Retail Park plans and went through with them. Now look at it, you can’t get down Blackpool Road anymore. This is what will happen here. The roads in the North are already very congested and this cannot happen.”

The Eastway Hub plans were refused, with councillor Brian Rollo who chairs planning committee urging councillors to come to a decision as the time for making one within the 12-week statutory period was drawing close.

What do you think of the decision? Do you live in the area? Let us know in the comments below

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