A national department store, a gym and an auto centre could be coming to Colne as part of a major facelift to the former home of Boundary Mill.
The Asda Store Ltd proposals for 2015 were submitted to Pendle Council this week, and include applications for a new retail unit for TK Maxx, the change of use and extension of a vacant unit to form a Pure Gym, and the erection of an auto centre within the existing Corporation Street car park.
Further plans include the erection of four retail pods, the erection of a Click and Collect Drive Thru Canopy, external alterations to the existing Asda store, reconfiguration of disabled parking and the erection of a product display facility.
It is said the development could create 56 jobs in Pendle, and “make more efficient use of redundant and under-utilised parts of Asda’s brownfield site and car park”.
But it is so far sparking mixed views from the town’s councillors and local MP Andrew Stephenson.
For Coun. Paul White, who leads on enterprise, growth and promotion, the plans have been described as “concerning”. Having seen Asda’s masterplan in full, he fears the proposals, if given the green light, could prove detrimental to Colne’s town centre.
He said: “This is apparently going to be Asda’s first development of this kind in the UK, and we don’t want Colne to be the guinea pig when it is one of the only high streets in the country to be bucking national trends.
“There are pods down on the application - but these are going to be filled with a florist, a hairdressers, a food outlet, and it is going to stop people going into the town centre.
“When I spoke to Coun. David Clegg, he said that Walmart did something similar in Canada and it ruined the town centre. If it has ruined it in Canada, it’s not doing it in Colne.”
And Mr Stephenson said: “I think some of the aspects of the proposals are exciting, but there are some aspects which are a little more concerning.
“I am delighted that the former Boundary Mill could be brought back into use and the potential for new jobs.
“But I think there are some aspects of the proposal that are going to be in direct competition with the high street. I have mixed thoughts at this stage.”
Not all plans are currently available to view in full on the Pendle Council website, although a spokesman confirmed more details should be online soon.
If given the green light, the auto centre would be positioned adjacent to the existing petrol filling station - to allow customers to drop off their cars for servicing or a wash while they shop. The development would result in the loss of 11 parking spaces.
An Asda spokesman said: “We can confirm that we’ve made some planning application changes with regards to our Colne store. We are always looking for ways to make our store even better and we hope to have some news for customers in the near future.”