Plans to expand a Ribble Valley garden center with additional retail, cafe and play space and a new car park on currently open land have raised concerns about loss of landscape, traffic problems and possible flooding at a nearby industrial site.
A two-story extension with additional indoor and outdoor facilities is proposed for Shackleton’s Home and Garden Center, Chatburn. Extended opening hours during the week should also be checked.
Ribble Valley councilors are being advised by planning officials that expanding Shackleton’s shops, cafes or other businesses in nearby Clitheroe would do no harm. According to a Planning Committee report, most Shackleton customers travel from the Blackburn, Preston and Bradford postcode areas.
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Additionally, vacancy rates in Clitheroe town center have fallen, which is an indication of the town centre’s strength, the report adds. But there are still several issues to consider, including the size of the Shackleton cafe and play area, planning officials say. The Shackleton Cafe should remain a “side part” of the garden center and not become the main attraction, the planners say.
Councilors are also being asked to look in detail at the future opening hours of the garden center and whether the cafe will be allowed to open until midnight every night of the week as required. The Ribble Valley Planning and Development Committee will review the application on Thursday, April 7th.
Chatburn Parish Council has raised various concerns about the garden center plans, according to a planning report. These include that the expanded center would extend into open country, there is no speed limit on nearby Worston Road, which is used as a shortcut by truck drivers; and that the expansion will increase traffic on the narrow Clitheroe Road. It said the road was already congested with parked vehicles outside the nearby industrial area and this is being made worse by the increased traffic at the garden centre.
Lancashire County Council and United Utilities highway officials have no objection, however, provided certain conditions are met. After a flood assessment, no objections to flooding were raised, the planning committee’s report adds. However, objections have been received from others in the region. These focus on issues such as traffic safety, noise pollution, cultivation of fields, surface water and drainage, parking lots and outdoor storage.
The report to councilors said: “The proposal concerns the extension and conversion of the home and garden centre. It is proposed to provide additional indoor and outdoor space for the sale of furniture, kitchen furniture and small items. It is also proposed to relocate and enlarge the area of the existing cafe and create a playground. The back-of-house facilities, including the kitchen and bathrooms, would also be increased.
“Currently, the total area of the garden center is 4,523 square meters including all covered sales areas and main traffic areas. The proposed expansion would add a total floor space of 2,436 square meters. The existing “garden hut” would be retained and the staff offices and kitchen furniture would be moved to the former pavilion coffee house. At the rear are the main greenhouse and external sales area.
“As proposed, the building would appear as a series of repeating glazed gables, five in all (three exist), following the contours of the site. The extensions are to be clad with natural stone, with large aluminum frame glazing on the north-east and south-east facades. The roof would be made of sheet metal, similar to the existing roofs.
Main vehicular access would still be from Clitheroe Road, but moved to the north-east. The plan is to extend the existing car park to adjacent agricultural land to the southwest, providing up to 241 spaces and spaces for up to 36 bicycles.
“The proposed maintenance arrangement would retain access from Worston Road to the rear but would be moved further south-west.” The proposals also include a landscaping program that includes planting trees along property lines and soft landscaping areas around the new retail and parking spaces.”
In terms of opening times, the café has a midnight closing licence, which also allows it to play music and serve alcohol from Sunday to Wednesday until 11pm. The operating license also includes Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve with extended opening hours. Councilors are asked to inquire in detail about opening times for future activities.
Planning officials recommend councilors to defer and delegate the various decisions to the district economic development director after finalizing a legal agreement, construction management plans and other conditions before starting work on the site.