Objections to the IKEA-anchored Cuerden development are growing – with one council demanding financial compensation.Advertisement
Chorley Council has said it cannot support the plans for the site just off the M65 in South Ribble.
In a letter to South Ribble Borough Council’s planning department the local authority has outlined its fears the Cuerden proposal, which would see a new retail park, offices and homes built, would threaten their proposals for Chorley’s town centre.
Chorley is demanding an £11.5million package of funding if Cuerden went ahead to help resurface a swathe of its town centre, make car parking free and relocate some of its tenants from Market Walk to help make more space.
In a detailed statement the director for business growth and development Mark Lester says the council has commissioned independent consultants to assess the likely impact of the Cuerden scheme.
He writes: “Regrettably Chorley Council cannot support the proposal because the applicant’s evidence underestimates:
“The impact of the scheme on Chorley’s existing highway infrastructure,
“The retail impact of the scheme on Chorley Town Centre and the Market Walk extension and
“The lack of a planning viability case for employment uses which does not provide for long term economic benefits. ”
Read more: Environmental health manager says Cuerden site is already flooding
As well as the £11.5million for the town centre, Chorley Council is saying it needs a financial contribution to mitigate the traffic impact of the development.
Mr Lester’s letter states they would want to see improvements to the B5256 Leyland Way, Lancaster Lane and Wigan Lane junction. They would also want to see improvements to the A674 Millennium Way, A6 Preston Road and Hartwood roundabout.
Chorley’s concern about its town centre stems from a £17million package of investment announced in September last year.
It would see an extension to the Market Walk shopping centre and a six-screen cinema complex with restaurants and shops built.
Mr Lester’s comments also pinpoint a specific part of the Cuerden development – a ‘class D2 unit’ – saying they would not want this to be used as a cinema at Cuerden.
It echoes the objections from the St George’s Shopping Centre owners Infared who warned of ‘no poaching’. They want to protect the ‘high street retail offer of Preston city centre’.
The Cuerden development would be worth £241-million-a-year to the Preston and surrounding area economy.
Read more: IKEA reveal more about their proposals for Cuerden
Lancashire County Council, who are behind the plans with the Eric Wright Group, say 4,500 jobs could be created once the development – which would include five national retailers and IKEA, a family pub and a 120-bedroom hotel is complete.
However, it faces objections from campaigners who state it would cripple the road network around the site.
Amended plans for Cuerden have gone on display showing new road junctions.
The plans for Cuerden are expected to go to South Ribble Borough Council’s planning department in the coming months for a decision.
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