AN INDUSTRIAL estate has been thwarted from expanding after plans for a new road were scrapped.

The five new industrial units at Waters Meeting Business Park would stand in the way of a previously agreed road between Crompton Way and Britannia Way.

B&E Boys, which owns the site, signed an agreement to put thousands of pounds towards the link road after it was granted planning permission in principle five years ago.

Since then, a housing development has been constructed on the route of the proposed road, making the highway impractical and inappropriate, according to the company.

Town hall planner Martin Mansell told councillors that the link road was intended to deal with traffic at the Blackburn Road and Tonge Moor Road junctions, but described the benefits as "negligible".

Director Peter Boys, who has owned the site for 20 years, told the committee that there is demand for new units at the business park but delays to the development have led at least one potential tenant look elsewhere.

He said: "We are keen to press on. I've got a list of a dozen other inquiries for smaller units on this site, because of our own presence in the area, people have contacted us seeking space. Not only are we serving local demand, but equally we're offering employment to local contractors and tradespeople during the construction of these units."

But the planning committee said that the development of a through road, which would be prevented if the new units are built, is "essential".

Former council leader Cliff Morris argued that the company signed the agreement to contribute towards the road at the time and should therefore not stand in the way of its construction. Cllr Bob Allen agreed.

He said: "I think we'd be foolish to close off the opportunity to build [the link road] at some time in the future."

Committee chair John Walsh said allowing the development to go ahead would be a "huge disservice".

The application was refused.