Store plans ‘too fancy’ to work

Ambitious plans that were drawn up two years ago for the former service station on Canberra Road will no longer go ahead
Ambitious plans that were drawn up two years ago for the former service station on Canberra Road will no longer go ahead

A landmark proposed development in Leyland has been described as ‘whimsical’ by planners who have gone back to the drawing board.

The former service station on Canberra Road was given permission two years ago for an ambitious, two-storey convenience store in an eye-catching design.

Put planners behind the move say they haven’t managed to find anyone to occupy the site because the proposed development is ‘whimsical and unrealistic’, and not viable to build in the current economic climate.

They have now come up with new, simpler plans for a convenience store with 16 parking spaces, that could create 30 jobs locally.

The news has not been welcomed by all residents, with some letters of objection already being received.

Catherine Rawcliffe, who lives on Canberra Road, said to planners: “Although the site is an eyesore, we would prefer it to remain as such rather than have this development on our doorstep.

“This site is not suitable for a convenience store as it is surrounded on all sides by residential properties.”

The site sits at the junction of Canberra Road and Turpin Green Lane and has remained derelict since the petrol station moved out.

Whilst it has not been confirmed who is in talks to take over the site if plans are passed, developers say the convenience store could expect to be serviced by four to five small vans a day.

Coun Caleb Tomlinson, who represents Leyland Central at South Ribble Council, said: “This was going to be a delegated decision, but I have asked that it will go before the council’s planning committee.

“I think it’s too touchy a subject just to be swiped through by the stroke of a pen.

“I think it needs to go to committee so members of the public it will affect can have their say.

“I’m delighted something will be done with the site because it’s an eyesore.

“Something has to go on there, it’s as simple as that, but it needs to be sympathetic to the surrounding areas.”

A new report from agents GL Hearn said: “In the two years since receiving planning permission the original applicant has been unable to attract an occupier, primarily because the approved scheme is not financially viable in the current economic climate.

“Whilst it is accepted that the site is situated in a prominent location on an important gateway into Leyland, it is considered that the approved design is whimsical and unrealistic and significantly over estimates the significance of the site.

“The proposed use offers significant regeneration benefits that will improve the character and physical amenity of the area whilst also providing a high quality, modern development that will reinforce the gateway aspect of the site in this prominent location.

“If this application is not successful, the likelihood is that the site will remain derelict and will degenerate further, to the increasing detriment of the surrounding area.”