Preston’s test tramline in Deepdale has been derailed by an extension to a chicken processing plant.Advertisement
Gafoor Poultry Products Ltd applied to extend the side and rear of the building in Fletcher Road.
Plans lodged in November last year were approved by council officers during mid-August.
Now Preston Trampower say this extension will go over part of the tram line, owned by Gafoor, and stop any ability to have double-track trams on their test line.
Approval had been given for a short section of the Preston to Longridge line to be used for a test tram line and station.
Director of Trampower Lewis Lesley told Blog Preston: “Preston Trampower is very disappointed that planning permission has been granted to the chicken factory company to build over and block the the previously granted planning permission for the double track Guild Tramway.
“This was despite offers to meet and discuss how best the two requirements could be met by compromise.”
The Gafoor plans had faced a petition of more than 1,000 signatures set up against the extension, on the website change.org, along with letters of objection and St Matthews councillor Jade Morgan also objecting.
A number of letters in support of the Gafoor plans were also received, along with a petition in support.
Despite the application being classed as a major planning application by the city council the decision was taken under delegated powers by council officers rather than by councillors at planning committee.
A council spokeswoman explained why the decision had not gone to planning committee.
She told Blog Preston: “The Council’s Scheme of Delegation for planning decisions by officers defines applications that to be determined by the Director of Development i.e. not to be determined by the Planning Committee.
“The types of applications that are to be determined by the Director of Development include detailed applications involving more than 2000 square metres gross floorspace.
“The proposed extensions do not exceed more than 2000 square metres gross floorspace, hence the application was determined under delegated powers, in accordance with the Scheme of Delegation, which was amended in 2015 and came into force on 14th December 2015.”
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Asked why the chicken factory extension had been approved despite the previous tram plans approval, the council spokeswoman said: “The application site occupies land that is allocated for employment use on the Policies Map of the Preston Local Plan. The land is not allocated for use as a transport route for trams or any other form of transport.
“The grant of planning permission for a specific use on land does not alone preclude the grant of a subsequent planning permission for an entirely different use on the same land. This may be precluded if the proposed development was contrary to the development plan, but in this case of this land neither the tram line nor the extension to an existing were considered contrary to the development plan.”
Preston Trampower had been stating work on the line was due to ‘begin within weeks’, but Prof Lesley said the firm was now having to consider whether to apply for a judicial review into the decision.
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