Chorley industrial estate plan thrown out by councillors

Plans to develop a row of light industrial units alongside a railway line in Chorley have been rejected – because of the potential impact of the resultant “comings and goings” on nearby residents.

Saturday, 18th September 2021, 3:02 am
Updated Saturday, 18th September 2021, 3:16 am

Chorley Council’s planning committee first considered the proposal for seven of the facilities on land south of Mercer Court in Adlington last month, but deferred their decision so that members could go to see the site for themselves.

The long, narrow plot is bordered by housing and has previously been used as a storage area and a base for railway contractors carrying out work on the track.

The proposed units would be permitted to house administrative offices or businesses carrying out research and development or industrial processes.

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The long, narrow strip of land in Adlington where seven light industrial units had been proposed to be built (image: Chorley Council)

The council’s planning officers had recommended the scheme for approval, but the leader and deputy leader of the authority – who represent the wards in which the scheme would be built – appealed to councillors to reject it.

Council leader Alistair Bradley said locals would have accepted the residential development for which permission already existed on the site – but not what was now being proposed.

“Some residents have…provided [examples] of previous problems that would be replicated under industrial usage – damage to walls [and] noise,” Cllr Bradley told members.

His deputy, Peter Wilson, added: “It is very true to say that [the site] has been used by Network Rail, but it hasn’t been used continuously, day in, day out from eight in the morning until six at night.”

The meeting also heard concerns over flooding – although papers presented to the committee noted that the plot lies in the lowest-risk flood zone category.

Committee member Alistair Morwood said that after visiting the site, he did not feel that the area lent itself to the kind of development that had been put forward.

However, Cllr Martin Boardman – indicating his support for the scheme – said that the committee should probably “get used to the fact” that it was going to receive more such applications for light industrial units in residential areas.

“There simply [aren’t] enough of them…certainly in our borough. It’s difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises…to find current space to rent or to buy,” he added.

But Cllr Alex Hilton warned of the noise and traffic likely to be generated in an area bordered by several homes.

The committee voted by a majority to refuse the application after being advised by planning services manager Adele Hayes that it was open to them to reject the planning department’s recommendation for approval on the basis of concern about “the increased level of activity and comings and goings”.

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