Concerns grow as new Tesco petrol station plans emerge

DERELICT: The former DWP site in Cop Lane, which has been vacant since 2009
DERELICT: The former DWP site in Cop Lane, which has been vacant since 2009
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Supermarket giant Tesco has revealed a petrol station is part of its plans for a new store in Cop Lane, Penwortham.

The revelation was made when Tesco spokesman Mark Thomas attended a Penwortham Town Council meeting and took questions from residents.

I made clear that our plans are at an early stage and when we have more detail on our proposals we will make it our priority to hold a public consultation.

Mark Thomas

Possible time frames for the store, belived to be around 30,000sqft, were also discussed - dependant on planning permission being granted - including a potential opening before Christmas 2016.

The new information has reignited efforts of the Save Penwortham group, who believe development of the former DWP site would cause traffic problems around an already busy junction and would impact on small, local shops in Penwortham.

The group reports immediate neighbours to the site are “very unhappy” about petrol station plans, though no information is available yet on where it would be placed.

Mr Thomas said: “I was grateful for Penwortham Town Council’s invitation and for the chance to speak to residents.

“I made clear that our plans are at an early stage and when we have more detail on our proposals we will make it our priority to hold a public consultation. This will give the community the chance to view our plans, talk to the team and let us know what their thoughts are.”

Following the meeting, a spokesman for the campaign group said: “Basically , he (Mr Thomas) was given short shrift by many of those present and no one really came out with very much new information.”

The 4.9 acre site has been vacant since 2009. In May 2012 plans were passed for Sainsbury’s to build a 35,000 sqft food store on the site, despite objections from more than 700 people.

Later Sainsbury’s dropped the plans, citing financial reasons and the site was sold to Tesco in 2013.

Plans passed in 2012 have now expired and it is expected that new proposals will be tabled with South Ribble Council bewfore the end of the year.

Objector John O’Donnell said this week: “My view remains that this site should be used for housing. The government is now demanding more house building. I am not aware of anyone demanding more supermarkets.

“The opponents of the last planning application pointed out that the proposals were uneconomic. Sainsbury’s said otherwise. Events have proved the protesters were right.”