Car repair workshop gets the green light at Morrisons in Preston
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Morrisons had applied for permission to install the so-called ‘pod’ facility - which will deal with minor body damage - outside its Riversway branch, off Mariners Way. The docklands unit - to be operated by Direct Line - will sit alongside an already-approved IN’n’OUT Autocentre, which will offer MOTs and mechanical repairs.
The proposed opening hours are 8am-8pm, from Monday to Saturday, and 10am until 4pm on Sundays and bank holidays.
The bodywork proposal attracted two objections from locals which included complaints that it would result in increased noise and also that the hours of operation were “excessive”.
However, Preston City Council planning officials concluded that any noise generated would not be greater than that already resulting from what they described as a “busy, commercial location”, which includes a nearby Halfords autocentre.
“The proposal is also limited to a maximum number of three vehicles and the operation of the pod is not considered to be intensive, given that it would provide automotive vehicle body repairs for minor damages only,” the authority’s planning decision report notes.
Documents submitted to the city council as part of the planning application state that the Direct Line unit would carry out repairs only to those vehicles that “have no structural damage and do not [need taking] off the road into a traditional body shop”.
The facility will require two separate pods – one pre-fitted with all of the necessary equipment and the other used for storage – which will lead to the loss of 44 parking spaces. However, 516 bays will remain and the supermarket says that the siting of the facilities would ensure that there was no disruption to shoppers arriving by car or on foot.
It is expected that an average of two repairs will be completed each day, usually taking between three and four hours. A courtesy car will be provided to those using the service.
A design statement accompanying the application adds: “Technology has improved dramatically over the last 10 years which allows vehicle body panels to be repaired quickly and safely…[using] newly developed water base paints.
“The body repair work and painting process takes place in the same workshop area [and] there is built in dust extraction to illuminate any airborne dust particles before painting."
Morissons secured approval last year for a similar venture which would have seen two separate services established – the IN’n’OUT Autocentre and an Xpress Centre to fix damage caused by accidents.
However, the plans for the latter changed slightly when a new proposed operator was brought forward, resulting in the new application which has now been approved.