Plans for new Preston shopping park rejected

Artist's impression of 'The Eastway Hub'

Artist's impression of 'The Eastway Hub'

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Residents are celebrating after a Government inspector threw out plans for a new retail park near their homes.

Locals signed a 1,300-name petition opposing the Eastway Hub in Fulwood, Preston which would have included a supermarket, a petrol station, a family pub and a drive-through restaurant.

After a five-day public inquiry before Christmas, Whitehall inspector David Wildsmith rejected an appeal by developer Hollins Strategic Land against the city council’s decision last year to turn it down.

And after news that the appeal had been refused, one of three local councillors who fought against it declared: “This is a victory for common sense.”

Greyfriars Coun Damien Moore said: “Residents would have got all the pain and none of the gain, had this gone ahead.”

Locals feared that the Eastway Hub application would have had a detrimental impact on their quality of life. They also felt it would create more congestion and decimate small local businesses in the area.

Fellow ward councillor David Hammond added: “I’m highly delighted because the residents have worked so hard to oppose it.

“A development like that would have been totally unsuitable for that location. It would have been chaos traffic-wise up there – almost another Deepdale Retail Park.

“We have already given planning permission for a district centre less than a mile away at Cottam, so there isn’t any need for one here as well. The residents collected around 1,300 signatures against it and it’s brilliant that the inspector said in his summing up that he had taken note of that.

“If it had been passed this would probably have been the biggest development in Fulwood since the Royal Preston Hospital. So I’m overjoyed that it isn’t going to be built. All three ward councillors, Damien, myself and Rowena Edmonson, attended the inquiry and supported the residents.”

The city’s planning committee originally refused the application on greenbelt land to the west of the A6 and bounded by Eastway and the M55. With the larger hub planned for Cottam it was deemed unnecessary.

The developers argued there was still a need for more retail to meet the demands of a fast-expanding population in the north-west of Preston where thousands more houses are planned over the next few years.

But the inspector ruled against the Eastway Hub saying it would not be appropriate at that location. He also refused an application by the developers for costs due to a delay by the city’s planning committee in announcing its decision.