Long fight to turn the Windmill pub near Preston into Spar shop and petrol station could be over

A six-year battle to knock down a landmark pub and replace it with a convenience store and petrol station could finally have been won.

By Brian Ellis
Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 10:33 am

Revised plans to demolish the Windmill Hotel on the main Preston to Blackburn road at Mellor Brook and build a Spar outlet with a filling station look set to get the green light on Thursday.

If approved by the planning committee it will mean a successful end to a lengthy fight by Preston-based Spar distributors James Hall and Co to redevelop the prominent corner site.

The company first applied for planning permission back in 2016, replaced it with a second scheme in 2017 - which was turned down by South Ribble Council and also a planning inspector on appeal - and then submitted a third version in 2020.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

How the new Spar and filling station could look.(Image: Smith and Love Planning Consultants).

Read More

Read More
Secondary school places Lancashire 2022: What you should do if your child doesn'...

Councillors deferred that project last year following yet more opposition by locals. But now it looks like it will get the nod after additional changes were made to satisfy county highways chiefs over road safety issues and environmental health bosses over fears of air pollution in the area.

Officers have re-examined the amended plans and are now recommending they should be given the go-ahead at long last.

The Windmill pub, on the corner of Preston New Road and Branch Road, pulled its last pint in 2014 and was put on the market by owners Enterprise Inns. It was said to be "no longer financially viable."

The Windmill has been closed since 2014.

An original scheme to turn it into a nursery was abandoned in February 2015 and the pub and its car park was eventually snapped up by James Hall who supply around 600 Spar shops in the North of England.

Residents in Mellor Brook launched an avalanche of objections when the first plans for a petrol station with convenience store were announced.

Six years on, having overcome an obstacle course of planning issues, the business could finally be on the brink of succeeding - although the second application in 2017 was supported by council officers and still rejected by the planning committee.

LCC Highways and South Ribble's environmental health department are reported to have had initial reservations about the current scheme. But both are now said to be satisfied with amendments made and are offering no objections.

But many residents have shown no such change of heart and continue to oppose the plans. Amongst the reasons given are concerns over HGV access - one local who said he was an HGV driver claimed the traffic arrangements at the site were "dangerous."

Another resident claimed the site was being allowed to fall into disrepair. And there are also worries about noise, light pollution, air pollution and road safety.

Mellor Parish Council observed: "The proposed development will have a considerable detrimental impact on the lives of those residents close by."

Subject to planning committee approval, the Spar store and petrol station will open from 7am to 10om Monday to Saturday and 8am to 10pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Officers recommending approval have cited 24 conditions which they feel should be attached to the planning permission.