Blackburn’s billionaire Issa brothers win appeal to build service station at end of M65 in Colne

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Blackburn’s billionaire Issa brothers can now start building a controversial £5 million service station at the end of the M65 next year.

Their property arm has won an appeal against Pendle Council’s refusal of planning permission for the petrol forecourt on land off Whitewalls Drive in Colne.

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Mohsin and Zuber Issa’s Monte Blackburn Limited will start construction of the Euro-Garages service station and two associated industrial units in the spring.

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The service station will be built on land off Whitewalls Drive in Colne.The service station will be built on land off Whitewalls Drive in Colne.
The service station will be built on land off Whitewalls Drive in Colne.

The proposals were rejected by Pendle Council planning committee in October after residents’ group Greenfield Forum, and Colne Business Improvement District, voiced concerns about the plans on traffic and trade.

But Monte appealed the decision to the government’s planning inspectorate. It has overturned the ruling after a review and granted permission for the scheme to go ahead.

Leader of the Greenfield Forum, John Rivett, has branded the inspector’s decision “regrettable”, and Pendle Council planning manager Neil Watson said he was “disappointed”.

The scheme will now see would see the 8.6 acre site developed for a petrol station, car wash, convenience store, drive-thru coffee unit and two industrial units which will create 120 jobs.

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Alex Kenwright, development projects manager for the Issa brothers’ EG Group, said: “We were delighted that the planning inspectorate overturned the refusal of our scheme at Colne.

“The original application was recommend for approval by the planning officer but overruled by councillors.

“This has delayed the investment and, more pertinently, local job creation by over 12 months.

“Notwithstanding this consideration and challenging economic environment, we intend to start working with stakeholders to ensure the scheme is a success and plan to begin construction in the spring of next year.

“We are presently developing the detailed design.

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“There is already much interest in the small warehouses and we expect the scheme will be fully let upon completion.

“We have always felt the scheme offers the area much-needed facilities and this high-quality, well-landscaped scheme will help develop the local economy.”

Mr Rivett said: “We are disappointed.

“It has been a long and hard fought campaign.

“It is a very regrettable decision by the planning inspectorate.”

Mr Watson said: “We welcome economic development in the right place.

“Although we are disappointed with this decision, we will work with the developers to deliver the scheme.

“The council has not been required to pay costs.”