‘Did Tesco take our car park?’

Public car park: Tesco Leyland
Public car park: Tesco Leyland

Questions are being raised regarding a historical piece of land in Leyland which should not have been taken over by supermarket giant Tesco, it is claimed.

The Guardian has recently reported how Sandy Lane surgery is expanding its facilities to West Paddock in a bid to ease parking problems down Sandy Lane.

But a former councillor, who used to sit on South Ribble’s planning committee, has been in touch to say that there used to be an unspoken rule that patients could park on vacant land near St Andrew’s Way.

Marie Kirkham says the land was historically left to the ‘Children of Leyland’ by Dorothy and Alice Gregson, whose family used to own a large portion of Hough Lane in the early 20th century, and after whom Dorothy Avenue and Alice Avenue in the town centre were named.

However, she says that when the Tesco Extra store was built in Towngate, that piece of land was taken over by the supermarket firm for use as a service yard, and that is when the traffic problems surfaced on Sandy Lane.

She said: “Over a number of years the surgery has been given planning permission to extend without any extra parking spaces, because the planning committee was told that the patients could use the car park opposite on St Andrew’s Way.

“This land was left to the Children of Leyland and managed by South Ribble Council – they gave the surgery permission to use this land for surgery parking.

“It was only when Tesco was built that problems arose.

“They completely fenced off the car park and used the land for their own service yard.

“This left the surgery patients nowhere to park near the surgery.

“No one knows how or why they were allowed to do this – but this blunder has caused all the traffic problems around Sandy Lane.

“I’m annoyed because we were always so careful about the issue when I was on planning, and now the surgery is being blamed for all of the parking problems.”

Coun Jon Hesketh, chairman of South Ribble Council’s planning committee, responded: “The council originally gave planning permission for Sandy Lane surgery in 1979 and since then it has been extended a number of times with single storey developments.

“The most recent planning permission was given 10 years ago and involved a first floor extension over the northern wing of the building.

“The surgery applied for a further first floor extension in 2010, but this was withdrawn because we had concerns about lack of parking and the impact on the conservation area.

“There is plenty of free parking close by in the public car park next to Tesco, which was provided as one of the planning conditions when the store was originally given planning permission, and is only a short distance from the doctors’ surgery.”

Tesco declined to comment.