Cottam Hall project approved

Preston City Council has approved revised plans for an £80m regeneration project on the site of the former Cottam Hall brickworks in Preston.

The scheme will be presented to Government Office North West for further review and subject to scrutiny by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Cottam Hall Properties, the developer behind the project, said work will commence on the derelict 28-acre site within six months.

Cottam Hall Properties is a joint venture between John Clarke, managing director of John Turner & Sons, and Ian Rankin, former chairman of John Turner.

The JV, which has owned the site for over 13 years, had an original planning application registered by Preston City Council in July 2009.

Officers at the council, however, had issues over ecology at the brownfield site with the developers.

Rankin, chairman of Cottam Hall Properties, said: "There was a sole objection from consultees which was from the Environment Agency who required additional habitat to the 6 acres already provided for Great Crested Newts at Cottam. Result was that we had to purchase a further 19 acres offsite and obtain planning permission for an offsite reserve before progressing the main application.

"There have been miscellaneous updates of the main application to reflect planning requirements: minor re-arrangement of the development layout; some additional foot/cycleways off-site."

The proposals include a Tesco store of 47,000 sq ft, 155 apartments overlooking a marina, 17 three-storey townhouses, and 20 two-storey family homes. There is also a business park of 45,060 sq ft and ancillary restaurants and shops planned.

Rankin added: "We are delighted the scheme has been given approval by the city council but we are still a few steps away from cutting the first sod. However, this is a major step forward in delivering a scheme that demonstrates how well different urban uses can complement each other while giving immediate access to the countryside, the canal and sports facilities. The ecology will not only be enriched with nature reserves on and offsite, but will be brought into the lives of children, students and people throughout the community through educational programmes.

"While providing a substantial proportion of the new housing required by Preston, the development will include the shopping, amenities and employment that has long been promised to this part of the city."

Andy Taylorson, head of agency at Eckersley, the property consultant for the development, added: "Cottam Hall Brickworks has attracted a lot of interest prior to the planning application submission and we are in advanced discussions with a number of parties about acquiring elements of the development. This is very encouraging given the tough market conditions we are presently operating in.

"A great deal of thought and effort has gone into the scheme, ultimately delivering a very attractive investment proposition."

John Turner & Sons, which has offices in Preston, Liverpool and Manchester, will deliver the project as the main contractor.

DPP advises the developer with planning issues on the scheme.

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