The scheme was approved in March 2021 but is being held up. Credit: via Merrion Strategy

BXB moves to break Preston planning deadlock 

The developer has asked the city council to remove a condition attached to the planning permission for an Aldi-anchored district centre in Cottam, claiming it is hindering the scheme’s progression. 

BXB director Gary Goodman said that planning condition 30 is seeking additional financial contributions that sit outside the agreed S106 agreement, which totals payments in excess of £1m. 

The extra contributions, estimated at around £500,000, would go towards internal works at the neighbouring waste transfer station. 

However, Goodman argues that the proposed works have not been justified by Lancashire County Council and also sit outside the scheme’s agreed viability assessment, previously approved by Preston City Council in March 2021. 

As a result, BXB has lodged a formal application with the city council to remove the condition to speed up the delivery of the project. 

“We’re being asked by Lancashire County Council to fund 100% of the works to the internal layout of the waste transfer station,” Goodman said. 

“It’s highly frustrating as we worked very closely with Preston City Council during the planning application process in shaping a package of external contributions that their members could support and which didn’t undermine the viability of the scheme.”  

LCC had previously stated that the delivery of the waste transfer station would not impact on the delivery of the district centre, Goodman claims. 

“Their revised stance places at risk the delivery of the district centre, which goes against the wishes of the local community. The planning condition is in complete contravention of this and so we are seeking its removal.”

Lancashire County Council’s stance on the matter is one of defiance.

Cllr Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, said: “This is about the developer expecting Lancashire’s residents to stump up the cost of work that is needed as part of this scheme.

“We’ve been really clear that it’s the developer that needs to pay for this work, not the taxpayer. We know that people in Cottam want this supermarket – so do we. As has always been the case, our door is open and we will discuss this with the developer at any time.”

The Cottam project, which also features 123,000 sq ft of retail and leisure uses, and 89 new homes, will cost around £26m to build and could generate £41m of economic output annually, according to BXB. 

“There is a hardening economic situation and yet the county council seems happy to forego all this investment, rateable income and jobs,” Goodman said.  

“If the condition is not removed, then we have the opportunity to seek an external decision by presenting our position to the Planning Inspectorate.” 

Preston City Council was contacted for comment. 

Nexus Planning is advising BXB on planning matters and Irwin Mitchell has provided legal counsel. 

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