Aldi store development finally looks set for outskirts of Preston

The long-running saga of an £80m district centre with a new Aldi store on the former Cottam Brickworks site in Preston looks to have been resolved.

By Brian Ellis
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 3:45 pm

A decade after a retail food store was first suggested on the land off Tom Benson Way, the city council is poised to give its approval.

The revised scheme, which also includes will go before the planning committee on Thursday with council officers recommending it should get the green light.

The local authority has settled a disagreement over how much the developer should contribute towards affordable housing, school places and improvements to the adjacent Household Waste Recycling Centre.

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BXB Cottam Properties Ltd argued that a community infrastructure levy of just over £1m would have made the project unviable.

Now a reduced figure of up to £411,718 has been agreed and the scheme is expected to be approved when it is debated by councillors.

"Whilst it is regrettable that this application cannot provide all the policy require levels of infrastructure due to financial viability, the proposal would provide social and economic benefits through the significant investment in construction and a significant number of new jobs as part of the retail and commercial development," says a report to the planning committee.

The old Cottam Brickworks c.1986

"The proposed scheme would deliver a district centre and an allocated strategic site, which would serve future residents of the development, together with the existing community within Ingol, Cottam and the North West Preston strategic location.

"The proposed development would also make important connections on the local pedestrian and cycle network and provide the opportunity for new and improved bus services."

The planning submission before the committee on Thursday comprises of a full planning application for the 1,785 sqm food store and outline planning for commercial units, together with 229 car parking spaces and 89 new homes.

The 5.6 hectare former brickworks site, which has been empty and derelict for decades, already has 114 homes currently under construction under previous planning applications. It also has a local nature reserve.

The first plans for a supermarket were submitted in 2012 along with a marina, a pub/restaurant and other commercial properties and offices. A later application in 2015 included a health hub and a filling station.

The current plans were first approved in March last year, subject to an agreement over a Section 106 contribution from the developer.

But it was not realised after BXB Cottam Ltd questioned the viability of the scheme if it was forced to pay out more than £1m - £407,000 for the commercial properties and £652,000 for the residential element of the plan.

"The application has been subject to a viability appraisal which has determined that the proposed development would only be viable with developer contributions up to a maximum of £411,718," adds the officer report.

Objections to the scheme have been lodged by Ingol and Tanterton Neighbourhood Council and Lea and Cottam Parish Council, mainly over road safety concerns due to access being planned from Cottam Avenue which has two primary schools, a nursery and a care home nearby.