Traffic chaos fears over Ikea plans

The Cuerden Strategic Site between the A582 Lostock Lane near St Catherines Hospice, the A5083 Stanifield Lane, and the A49 Wigan Road
The Cuerden Strategic Site between the A582 Lostock Lane near St Catherines Hospice, the A5083 Stanifield Lane, and the A49 Wigan Road

Serious traffic concerns have prompted a call for a flagship new store to be rejected.

There are fears about traffic “chaos” in Leyland and neighbouring areas as a highways report for the proposed 65-hectare Cuerden Strategic Site development is due to go before planning councillors next week.

Furniture giant Ikea has already been earmarked for the site - at the end of the M65 between Lostock and Farington.

But councillor Paul Wharton, who represents Farington East on South Ribble Council, said Lancashire County Council’s highways report is worrying.

“It’s changed slightly. They’ve added an extra entrance off Stanifield Lane and coming off the M6 through Farington.

“Two weeks ago the whole of Leyland and Farington was gridlocked. It wasn’t a Bank Holiday. The Highways Agency reported on their website it was purely to do with volume of traffic.

“If it’s like that normally, what’s it going to be like when this new store is built.”

He added: “No one seems to be listening.

“Lancashire County Council seem to be pushing it through - the City Deal depends on money coming from this site.

“I’m proposing they listen to genuine concerns rather than pay lip service to force it through.

“In my opinion, yes, the investment is welcome, however it’s the wrong location and we should really think about refusing it.

“The other Ikea stores are built on industrial estates and end of motorways - this is residential.

“It’s going to be manic. It’s going to be awful.”

If it goes ahead, the huge development of major new retail, housing and industry usage - is expected to create 4,500 jobs.

But a decision by South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee was held up following serious traffic issues. The application is now due to go before the committee on Tuesday, September 26.

County councillor Michael Green, who represents Moss Side and Farington, said: “Traffic is a concern, but I’ve been working closely with officers and I’m reassured by what’s coming forward and highway’s responses and they will be carrying out improvements to make traffic flow smoother and quicker.”

He said improvements included a crossing and speed restrictions on Stanifield Lane. He added: “We need to make sure traffic continues to flow for the needs of the local residents, in the wider area, and for the employees and visitors to the site.”

Karen Hirst, on behalf of the developers, said: “We are delighted that South Ribble Borough Council officers have recommended this application for approval and that all major statutory consultees, including Highways England and Lancashire County Council Highways have signed-off the proposals.

“Our development team has worked hard to address the issues which have been raised by the community and stakeholders over two rounds of public consultation. This work has led to improvements to the proposals, not least a number of off-site highways amendments.

“The Cuerden Strategic Site has been earmarked as a major new employment site for many years, but the lack of infrastructure to open up and service the site has held back development.

“If approved, these proposals will deliver the necessary investment to make this a reality.

“When fully developed, the site will bring around £241 million per year to the Central Lancashire economy and deliver around 4,500 new jobs for this area, along with many hundreds of jobs during construction.

“It is now for members of the Planning Committee to make their decision based on the officer’s report.”