Newsagents' joy after councillors throw out supermarket's bid to sell newspapers

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson (front) joins Park News owner Julie MacAdam (front left) and other supporters of the campaign.
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson (front) joins Park News owner Julie MacAdam (front left) and other supporters of the campaign.

The owner of the last remaining newsagents and post office in Barrowford was celebrating today after councillors turned down an application to sell newspapers across the road from her shop.

Members of the Barrowford and Western Parishes Area Committee went against planning officers' recommendations and unanimously turned down the application by Booths supermarket to overturn a planning condition, imposed on the store when it opened three years ago, banning the business from selling newspapers and magazines

But while the battle has been won the war is still not over as the application will now go to a meeting of the Development Management Committee later this month.

This happens when an area committee makes a decision against planning policy or where there could be a significant risk of costs against an appeal.

Speaking after the meeting last night, Julie MacAdam, who owns Park News with her partner, Chris Riley, said: "The committee went over the application in fine detail, picked it apart and voted unanimously against it.

"There was standing room only and members of the public spoke out in support of us yet again because our shop is an integral part of the community, particularly when we have the last remaining post office in the village.

"It was a real victory for us but is still not the end of the road by a long way."

Julie and Chris launched a campaign against the application, which they say will spell the end for her business and also the post office which the business took on last year.

A petition the couple started just before Christmas now has 1,850 signatures and rising which is equivalent to 53 % of the population of Barrowford.

Julie added: "Booths have argued that they carried out a survey and their customers have said they want to buy newspapers and magazines in their store but not one person I have spoken to who shops there has said they have been asked about this or seen any survey."

In a report supporting the application, planning officers state that the scale of the proposal would have a minimal impact on the shopping centre of Barrowford and clearly there was "no justification" for the restriction.

The report points out that there are at least three outlets within Barrowford which offer this service including the newsagent, Spar and Premier Shop so it is not "reasonable or fair" to Booths as it restricts competition.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson supported the campaign and even called on Booths to withdraw the application.

And Barrowford Parish Council voted unanimously against the application.

The meeting of the Development Management Committee will be held at Nelson Town Hall on Monday, February 26th.