Tithebarn shopping centre ruling 'perverse'

Blackburn MP Jack Straw Blackburn MP Jack Straw said the argument could be taken to the High Court

Related Stories

Blackburn MP Jack Straw has described a minister's approval of a £700m shopping centre in Preston as "perverse".

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles approved the Tithebarn plan despite a planning inspector's report saying it would lead to heavy traffic congestion.

The leader of Preston City Council, Ken Hudson, said the go-ahead for the scheme was "like winning the lottery".

However, Mr Straw said the argument could now be taken to the High Court.

The plans had been opposed by neighbouring councils Blackburn and Blackpool which saw it as a threat to their own trading future.

The inspector's report supported the councils' opposition, and advised that the planning application be refused.

Mr Straw, a former Labour cabinet member, said Mr Pickles' decision to go against the inspector's recommendation was "extraordinary".

Mr Straw explained: "The inspector said it would lead to over-development of Preston, draw away retail spend from the other areas and lead to very heavy traffic congestion.

"[In the report, Eric Pickles] accepts that this development could not take place without a detrimental impact on congestion in the city centre.

"He then goes on to say the proposal is not in accordance with a development plan on national policy in terms of transportation but then says it doesn't matter and that is absurd."

He added: "This is a very perverse decision by the secretary of state."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Lancashire

Weather

Preston

Min. Night 15 °C

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.