The landlords of a Chorley pub have launched a petition against plans to pave an access road through their car park for the town’s new housing and business development site.
Chorley Council and Homes England are currently consulting on a draft masterplan for the Cowling Farm site off Cowling Road – the site of 150 new homes, business units, and a 0.4 hectare gypsy site.
As part of this three access points were mooted, one being through The Spinners at Cowling car park in Cowling Road and the other two concerning extensions to neighbouring Moorland Gate through an access road and roundabout.
Pub owners Trust Inns had a lease with Chorley Council for the car park until March last year after which it was sold to the government as part of the development.
But an email from Homes England to The Spinners licensees Glen and Emma Hutchinson, who have run the venue for six and a half years, has revealed that the two Moorland Gate options have been “found not to be appropriate solutions” due to cost and landscaping issues.
Two options have also been identified for access to the gypsy site, both off "dedicated access roads" from Moorland Gate.
Glen, who is a director at Chorley FC, said: “Why is this road being built when you have Moorland Gate?
“We employ 22 people. On weekends we don’t have enough parking spaces as it is – and it’s not because we don’t say ‘you can’t drive here because of limited spaces’; it’s because we have built up a really successful business.
“If numbers start dropping we wont be able to employ these people.
“We have four children who live here.
“This is our home as well as our business.”
Moorland Gate is already used by a variety of vehicles to access the Moorland Gate Business Park.
A new pub car park been tabled for the rear of the watering hole but at two-thirds of the size, according to Glen.
He also says they will lose on-street parking in front of the pub due to the new road.
In the online petition, which has more than 3,330 signatures since its launch last Friday, Glen writes that the council and Homes England “don’t seem to give two hoots about ruining a family business which we have worked so hard for”, adding: “Everyone that knows us, knows how much effort we have put into this place.”
Two drop in sessions at Tatton Community Centre are being held to allow members of the public to discuss the masterplan with Chorley Council and Homes England.
The first is today between 3pm and 7pm – and Glen says up to 350 people will be in attendance to make their concerns known to authorities.
“I know a lot of local residents and customers are really upset,” the dad-of-four explained.
“We have worked so hard to do this and build up a group of friends within this community.
“They are not just customers but friends and [The Spinners] is for them to come and relax and enjoy too.”
Glen revealed that a meeting is also planned for Thursday with Homes England, Chorley Council chief executive Gary Hall, and pub owners Trust Inns.
Coun Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “This consultation is not about a planning application but it will help to inform any future planning applications and therefore it is a perfect opportunity for local residents and businesses to comment.
“No decisions have been made yet and there are several options to be considered.”
On social media a Chorley Council spokesman added that the two access options off Moorland Gate have not been ruled out “entirely”.
• Information on the consultation can be found at chorley.gov.uk