Villagers vow to fight plans for Windmill pub near Preston to the bitter end

Defiant villagers are refusing to concede defeat in their long-running battle to prevent a former pub site being turned into a Spar store and petrol station.

By Brian Ellis
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 4:55 am

Despite news that the plans for the Windmill Hotel are being recommended for approval tonight, locals in Mellor Brook insist they will fight to the bitter end to block the scheme which they say will have a "devastating effect" on homes and businesses.

South Ribble planning committee will debate the latest chapter of the six year saga and campaign leaders are urging residents to lobby the meeting at the Civic Centre in Leyland to show the strength of feeling.

They are hoping for a repeat of 2018 when councillors overturned the application by Spar distributors James Hall and Co of Preston, even though council officers advised them to pass it.

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The former Windmill Hotel pulled its last pint in 2014.

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Long fight to turn the Windmill pub near Preston into Spar shop and petrol stat...

"That is what we are hoping and praying will happen again," said Ann Wainwright who has sent a copy of a residents' objection booklet to every member of the committee.

She said she wanted them to "appreciate the devastating effect this business will have on the 22 homes facing the site and many village businesses gravely affected."

"This application is David versus Goliath. We have lodged 425 objections - one of the largest South Ribble has had for any development.

How the site will look if the plans are passed (Image: James Hall and Co).

"A near identical (plan) was turned down on appeal in 2018, but James Hall just sent in another which is why we are at planning again.

"This is not wanted by this village. We need the village to turn out to remind the council this village is totally against it. We are still fighting, this fight is not over yet."

The current application is the third version of a plan to knock down the Windmill pub on the main Preston to Blackburn road.

The hostelry closed in 2014 and James Hall acquired it in 2016. The company first applied for planning permission that year, 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.

Now, after more negotiations with planners over traffic issues and air pollution, a resubmitted application has been deemed to be acceptable by council officers who have recommended it should be passed tonight.