Preston council leader attacks rivals over Tithebarn

Michael Hunt

Cllr Ken Hudson, leader of Preston City Council, has blasted rival local authorities Blackburn and Blackpool over their latest actions to stop the £700m Tithebarn redevelopment plans taking place.

In a strong-worded post on his blog on the council website, he said: "So you would think Preston would be praised and supported for its attempts to bring in £700m of new investment and up to 3,000 new jobs for Lancashire.

"Well think again, because in actual fact Blackburn and Blackpool are spending vast sums of taxpayer's money to stop development in Preston."

The proposed scheme includes 1.5m sq ft of shopping incorporating two department stores plus 100 shops. If built, there will be a range of bars and restaurants, a nine-screen cinema, new and refurbished markets, 500 homes and 2,700 car parking spaces.

Rival Lancashire local authorities Blackpool and Blackburn have said it is disproportionately large for the central Lancashire economy and will draw retail spend from their town centres to Preston.

Hudson adds: "Now that the public inquiry into the Tithebarn development is set for 18 May, Blackburn and Blackpool have appointed a top barrister and are paying all sorts of consultants fees to try and stop Preston developing.

"They'll be spending at least a six figure sum on their legal and other bills for this inquiry and it means that to defend our case at the inquiry, Preston will have to spend a similar amount too.

"It is a sheer and utter waste of public money and all at a time when public resources are under so much pressure. I only hope the hard-pressed taxpayers of Blackburn and Blackpool hold their councils to account for this waste of their taxes."

Lead developer Grosvenor pulled out of the project last October leaving Lend Lease to go it alone.

The public inquiry into the retail scheme had hit delays. Last month, the Government decided not to list Preston bus station as a building of significant architectural or historic interest, making way for a date to be set for a public inquiry.

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