Chorley Council to launch damages claim if retail and housing scheme is passed

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A whopping £11.5m compensation claim is being pursued by Chorley Council which fears for its new shopping complex will be threatened by plans for an Ikea.

The borough authority has expressed its concerns over plans for a new retail and housing development – including Ikea­ – at Bamber Bridge.

Coun Peter Wilson at Chorley Council Offices

Coun Peter Wilson at Chorley Council Offices

Chorley Council has said it will be seeking £11,520,121 in compensation if plans for the new 65 hectare site are approved.

Traders in Chorley have backed the council but point out that they are also concerned that another possible retail development at Botany Bay will draw shoppers away from the centre of town as well.

It comes following fears that it could threaten Chorley’s £17m town centre redevelopment.

But developers at Cuerden Strategic Site said the plans could add around £240 million per year to the local economy and deliver more than 4,500 jobs.

Explaining why Chorley Council “cannot support the proposals” deputy leader councillor Peter Wilson said: “The council has been watching the development of plans for the Cuerden strategic site very closely to protect the interests of the Chorley borough and the town centre in particular.

“While we want to see economic growth across Lancashire, we are concerned that the proposals developed to date, don’t properly address the impact that a development of that size could have on Chorley town centre and the traffic and highways surrounding the area”

A spokesman for the Cuerden Strategic Site developers pointed out that the site has long been earmarked for development in existing planning policy and is a component of the City Deal.

Arguing that the claim was not justified the spokesman added: “We are aware that Chorley Council has objected to the Cuerden application, however it is unclear from their letter what the justification is for doing so.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

“Following a detailed and robust assessment, our own professional advisers have concluded that the potential retail impacts on neighbouring areas are acceptable. Therefore, Chorley Council’s request for a significant sum of money by way of mitigation is not justified.

“Indeed we believe that Chorley residents are just as likely to benefit from the jobs created at Cuerden as people living in Preston and South Ribble.

“To date, nine nearby local authorities have already confirmed that they have no objection to the proposals.”

The planning application will be tabled at South Ribble Borough Council this month.

Malcolm Allen

Malcolm Allen

Chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce Babs Murphy, has also weighed in.

Referring to the retail park at Cuerden she said: “This investment will significantly benefit the surrounding areas with improvements to infrastructure, the development of new homes, thousands of square metres of commercial and leisure floor space and significant job creation.

“Like all major developments of this nature these benefits will have a positive and lasting effect to neighbouring towns and cities.”

Meanwhile traders in Chorley have laid out their concerns over the retail village near Botany Bay, arguing that it could also take shoppers away from the centre of Chorley.

Malcolm Allen, chairman of Chorley Traders Alliance and owner of Malcolm’s Musicland in Chapel Street, said: “All out of town shopping construction has an impact on Chorley.

“From the plans that are submitted it does look like [the retail park at Cuerden] will draw shoppers away from Chorley. “I would think the opinion is going to be that Botany Bay is also going to have an impact on Chorley.