A PUB landlord has hit out over access plans for a major housing and business development.

Landlord of The Spinners At Cowling, Glen Hutchinson, and his wife, Emma, say they were shocked when they heard about plans for the Cowling Farm estate.

The proposals would see a new road for the residential part of the development cut straight through the pub car park.

Pub owners Trust Inns had a lease with Chorley Council for the car park until March last year after which it was sold to the government as part of the development.

The Council and Homes England are consulting on a draft masterplan for the site off Cowling Road.

Three access points were mooted, one being through The Spinners car park, but it is now claimed the other two options have been ruled out. Mr Hutchinson, a director of Chorley FC, said: “If they develop the site over three years then it could turn a lot of custom away as they may not be able to park and they will not want vehicles spreading muck over the roads.

“We have worked hard over the past three or four years to build the business up and employ 22 people.

“This will affect us and we feel like we have been left out of the loop. We cannot park cars on the road and we feel we have been treated poorly.”

A public engagement event took place last week at Tatton Community Centre in the borough, with many of those attending appearing to back a call from Mr Hutchinson for a re-think of how the estate will be accessed. The meeting was told a replacement car park would be provided but Mr Hutchinson claimed it would be smaller than the current one.

Another engagement event is scheduled for tomorrow at the centre between 2pm and 5.30pm. The formal planning application process is not expected to begin until the end of the year at the earliest.

Cllr Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “This consultation is not about a planning application but it will help to inform any future planning applications and therefore it is a perfect opportunity for local residents and businesses to comment. No decisions have been made yet and there are several options to be considered.”

“We would like to encourage people to respond to the consultation and to attend the drop-in sessions.”

Aaron Tilley, from consultancy firm Curtins, said there was an offer to provide a “like for like” replacement parking facility at the back of the pub – which would be completed before any spaces were lost.

But as observers looked on, Mr. Hutchinson claimed site plans showed that the new car park would be nearly 300 square metres smaller than the current one.   And he added that a proposed on-street parking ban in front of the pub would further threaten his trade or lead to customers parking in nearby residential streets instead.

Chorley Council’s director of development, Mark Lester, said the final design of the replacement car park would be determined by a “negotiation” with Homes England, the government agency which owns the part of the site where more than 150 houses are expected to be built.

Attention also focused on possible alternative access points – including a roundabout at the junction of Moorland Gate and Cowling Road, an option which had been discounted by Chorley Council.

Mark Lester told residents that cost was “not the only consideration” which had led to the decision.   Highways bosses at Lancashire County have advised that the island would need to be 34m in diameter in order to accommodate the largest vehicles which may use it.

That would require a redesign of the road layout which would itself encroach on the pub car park and also come close to a decked area which the operators of The Spinners wanted to preserve.

But it was the removal of the roundabout option just before the consultation process opened – along with a second alternative for dual residential and business access from Moorland Gate – which sparked the liveliest exchanges at the event.

“Why change everything the day before?” Mr. Hutchinson asked.   “People can only comment on what is put before them – and those options are not on the questionnaire.”

Mr. Lester said that it was “coming through loud and clear” that some residents were not happy with the current proposals, which included a modified road design to protect the pub’s decking.

“You need to feel what we have said tonight and take it back [to the council] and personally express that,” another resident told him.

The current consultation is part of an informal process to gauge public opinion on a so-called “masterplan” for the development, which has been earmarked for housing and employment use since 2015.   It will also provide the first permanent site for the travelling community in Chorley.

Speaking after the meeting, Mark Lester said Chorley Council and Homes England had chosen to engage with the public at an “early stage” and he encouraged residents to have their say on the options presented and “any alternative proposals they may have”.