Traders fear a derelict Chorley pub could be transformed into a convenience store.
Business owners and shoppers have been left bewildered in Adlington after plans were submitted to alter the Ridgway Arms, in Chorley Road.
They have long been calling for action to regenerate the dilapidated building, but claim the nature of the new proposals aren’t clear.
They now fear the building could be transformed into a convenience store that would ‘kill’ businesses in the town.
John Gibbs, from John’s Newsagents, in Railway Road, said: “Plans have gone in to change the Ridgway, but we can’t get to the bottom of them.
“The applicants are asking for an extension and new entrance and exit doors, but they don’t say what the building will be used for. It’s clear something needs to be done as it’s an eyesore, but the last thing that Adlington needs is another convenience store - especially as we already have two Co-Ops.”
The pub was the centre of a long running feud after its former landlords stopped people parking in front of the building to visit neighbouring shops.
However, the new proposals would see the car park at rear marked out and the demolition of part of the building.
John Harrison, from Adlington Racing, said: “Everything in the plans points to the Ridgway being used as a convenience store and everyone is against it in the village.
“It has been empty for a couple of years now and has looked a mess which isn’t good as it’s right in the centre of Adlington.
“There had been talk about it being a pub or restaurant or even flats, but these plans look more like a small supermarket.”
Tom Jones Properties Ltd, which has submitted the planning application to Chorley Council, said the work is necessary for the building to taken over.
Under planning laws they would not have to apply for change-of-use to convert the pub for retail purposes.
Coun Peter Wilson, who represents Adlington, said: “At the moment it is not clear what the final purpose is for the Ridgway.
“However, I have asked officers to try and establish exactly what is being proposed.
“Until we know the finer details it is very difficult to make a judgement so it’s important we have all the facts.”
A statement from Tom Jones Properties said: ‘The application seeks alterations to the existing Ridgeway Arms Public House predominately in the form of a small rear extension and new entrance.
“These proposed alterations are sensitive to the appearance of the building which is of local importance and makes a postive contribution to the wider area.
“In addition, the redevelopement of this vacant site will contribute to the vitality and viability of Adlington by hopefully bringing about it’s reuse to ensure the retention and upkeep of this heritage asset.’