A major step towards IKEA opening in South Ribble has been taken.Advertisement
Councillors have voted unanimously to approve plans for the Cuerden scheme.
Land at the M65 junction has been earmarked for a huge new retail park, office complex and housing development.
South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee met on Tuesday (26 September) to discuss the plans.
Planning officers had recommended the scheme for approval – and councillors agreed with the recommendation.
Read more: Cuerden site is ‘already flooding’ says environmental health manager
Anchored by the Swedish furniture store, the first in Lancashire, it’s faced objections from nearby residents, other local authorities and shopping centres.
The hybrid planning application asked for approval for the IKEA store along with other retail stores with highways work.
Initial proposals for the rest of the site were also approved which would see offices, a hotel, health and fitness clubs, a creche, car showroom and homes created – as well as public open space.
While the scheme has been approved a number of conditions have been applied – relating to road improvements for the A582 and surrounding junctions.
There’s also a strict condition to stop ‘poaching’ of stores which already trade in Preston, Leyland or Chorley.
Fears had been raised the likes of Marks and Spencer or Next could re-locate to Cuerden.
Read more: Preston Markets scheme remains ‘on track’ despite stalling claim
Planning officers have put in a ‘town centre protection clause’. This means no shop at the opening of Cuerden, or within six months of its opening, may occupy floor space in either Preston, Leyland or Chorley – unless they intend to retain their existing town or city centre store for a minimum of five years following the date of opening at Cuerden.
Cuerden is expected to create around 4,000 jobs and be worth more than £200million-a-year to the Central Lancashire economy.
John Jones from the Limit Cuerden campaign group expressed his disappointment at the decision.
He said: “We’ve been constantly let down by South Ribble and Lancashire County Councillors who’ve just not listened and understood. They’ve approved this scheme knowing the traffic will be horrendous.
“They seem to think the developers are doing this for the good of the Council and South Ribble rather than to boost their businesses.
“I was disappointed at the way the planning committee was run with little or no debate or challenging. It was waved through condemning the area to gridlock and pollution for the next 20 years.”
He said a legal challenge to the planning application was very unlikely due to the group’s size and lack of resources.
Leader of Lancashire County Council councillor Geoff Driver CBE said: “We are pleased that these plans, that will deliver significant economic benefits, including creating over 4,500 new jobs locally have been approved by South Ribble’s Planning Committee.
“The Cuerden Strategic Site has been earmarked as a major new employment site for many years, but the lack of infrastructure to service the site has held back development. These proposals will provide the necessary investment to make this a reality.
“We know from local people that there are concerns about traffic, but these plans will provide investment to reduce hotspots in this part of South Ribble. Highways England and our own highways department were both consulted and they are happy with these proposals.
“This is the largest single site being delivered by the City Deal, and this is another step forward for our ambitions to bring thousands of new jobs to the area and boost the economy, along with a major investment in the road network.”
Leader of South Ribble Borough Council councillor Peter Mullineaux said: “This is a monumental decision for South Ribble – unlocking our biggest employment development site and creating once-in-a-generation economic opportunities for the whole borough.
“South Ribble has rightly earnt a reputation as a fantastic place to do business and Cuerden will provide the infrastructure for us to continue to grow and bring more major employers to our area.
“As with all decisions, residents are always our priority and we are absolutely committed to working hard with the developer to ensure this site is delivered with their best interests at heart.”
Cuerden county councillor Michael Green said: “I am delighted that we have been able to minimise the impact of this major development to local residents, while bringing so many job opportunities both locally and to the wider population of Lancashire.”
You can read the full report which went to the borough council’s planning committee here.
What do you think of the decision? Let us know in the comments below