Plans for a major residential and retail development on land near Botany Bay in Chorley have been put before councillors in the borough – nearly twelve months after the proposals were first made public.
But a decision by the development control committee has been deferred until after members have visited the site to see it for themselves.
The cross-party committee will make the trip on a date yet to be finalised, before holding a special session to consider the proposal in detail.
But one member made his concerns about the plans clear. “The sheer volume of the development [will have] a detrimental impact on Chorley town centre and other centres like Adlington,” Cllr Martin Boardman said.
Committee chair Cllr June Molyneaux told him that the time to discuss the details was after the site visit had taken place.
Before members voted to approve the visit, Cllr Gordon France added: “Whenever I go to residents’ association meetings about this, the one thing that always comes up is [concern about] traffic.”
The land is earmarked for development in the council’s local plan for the district and members have been advised to treat the four separate requests for outline planning permission as a single application.
They include two proposed housing developments of up to 100 and 188 dwellings on land at Blackburn Road in the vicinity of Botany Bay.
There is also an application to create retail space, which would include a hotel, nursery and associated car parking provision, as well as “infrastructure and ancillary development”.
The final proposal would see the creation of 300,000 square feet of employment space on land adjacent to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal on Blackburn Road.
Committee member Cllr Alan Whittaker requested that councillors stick together when visiting the site, so they all know what each other is thinking.
But Cllr Alistair Morwood said site visits were not a time for debate and members should be free to decide for themselves where it was relevant to inspect.
Planning officer Adele Hayes encouraged members to read the abundance of technical documents relating to the applications in advance of viewing the proposed locations in person.
Following the meeting, a spokesperson for FI Real Estate Management, the applicant behind three of the four proposals, said: “We have been continuing to work on refining our transport plans with the Council, local stakeholders and the relevant highways bodies as part of our Planning Application to redevelop the Botany Bay site. We hope to secure a favourable planning decision in the coming months.”