A PUBLIC inquiry has been ordered into the county council’s compulsory purchase of land to make way for Accrington’s new bus station.
The bus depot is due to move from Peel Street to Crawshaw Street as part of the £50million Pennine Reach scheme, which would link Blackburn, Darwen and Accrington with improved bus links.
But the Secretary of State for communities and local government, Eric Pickles, ordered a public inquiry after receiving several objections from landowners who were served a compulsory purchase order by the county council.
A retail unit in Union Street fell under the CPO area, as did several in Edgar and School Street.
One of the objections was lodged by Gerard and Katerina Buckel, of Link House - a former pub - in King Street.
Chartered surveyors, LeaHough wrote on their behalf and said: “Our client’s property is a 19th century traditional stone-built structure set against the backdrop of a stone built railway viaduct of the same era.
“It is considered that the demolition of the property to accommodate the proposed bus station will undermine the heritage value of the streetscape evident in locality.”
After the inquiry, due to take place in June, an inspector will compile a report, and a decision will be taken over whether the £4million bus station can be built.
Assistant director for sustainable transport at Lancashire County Council, Tony Moreton, said: "We have been informed by the Planning Inspectorate that a public inquiry has been set for Tuesday, June 17.
“We welcome the notification and will be preparing the case for the inquiry."
In a statement of case prepared ahead of the inquiry, the county council said the new bus station was an ‘integral part of the Pennine Reach scheme and, without the inclusion of the bus station, the benefits of Pennine Reach for the travelling public would diminish if continued use of the existing facility were to be made’.
In October, Mushqat Juwale, owner of Smithson Newsagents in Peel Street, wrote to Eric Pickles, on behalf of traders who objected to the new bus station, and asked him to visit the town.
He said: “This proposed relocation would effectively destroy an already failing market town and would see many traders cease trading and become bankrupt from what is already a fragile market.”
Hyndburn Council leader, Coun Miles Parkinson, said: “Nothing is guaranteed. This is the standard process and other CPOs have gone through smoothly, and on odd occasion some have not.
“We don’t foresee any problems but the inspector will make the final decision and Eric Pickles will sign that off one way or the other.”