Convenience store and coffee shop planned for part of Preston 'with nowhere to buy the basics'
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People living in Barton are being asked for their views about plans to develop a series of business and commercial units off Garstang Road as part of the proposed expansion of JJ Sandham cheesemakers.
A public consultation is being carried out into a suggested development to the south of the family-run firm’s existing premises, which would include offices and light industrial facilities - as well as the potential for two retail outlets.
During a long-running campaign to turn the derelict and fire-damaged former village pub, The Boar’s Head, into a community hub several years ago, residents highlighted the fact that there was nowhere in the immediate vicinity where they could get staple foods like bread and milk.
The hope had been to bring The Boar’s Head back to life as a wide-ranging facility, possibly combining a shop, post office and drop-in health clinic - as well as a bar and eatery.
At the time, villager Rosemary McLean, who helped lead the campaign, said that Barton-dwellers had “nowhere to meet or to shop for basic[s]” - in spite of a population boom.
However, the dream of a community hub died in 2020 - four years after the pub shut its doors and 12 months after it was ravaged by a suspicious blaze - when planning permission was granted to turn the 17th century hostelry into flats and build houses on its car park.
Commenting on the new plans for a village shop, Rosemary told the Post that it was "definitely needed”.
"There isn’t a convenience store here despite [the demand for one] as the village has seen hundreds of new houses being built. A mini-pub or coffee shop would also do well.”
However, she added that fellow villagers would probably not be against getting their hopes up too soon. "We’ve all heard this phrase ‘could include a shop’ before [when planning applications are proposed]. It happened on land next to me, but no shop was ever built, with the [developer] saying there was no interest – so an application was put in for three more houses instead.
"Yet despite searching the web, we couldn’t find the land ever having been advertised [to find a retail operator].”
According to a leaflet distributed in the area, a planning application for the latest proposed development is likely to be submitted in the coming months and, if approved, construction work would begin in “late 2023 or early 2024”.
The document advises that “feedback and comments” are being sought before the application is finalised.
It adds that while there were previously plans for housing on the plot, it is now being proposed as a site to expand JJ Sandham’s Rostock Dairy, which has been based in its current location in the village for 94 years. The business is said to need more space following what the leaflet describes as a “surge in demand”.
The proposals include parking and landscaping to complement the proposed “small business park”.