Plans to extend a retail park with shops, bars and food outlets in shipping containers has been rejected due to ‘over-development’ fears.

The proposals, for the King Street retail park, Farnworth, also included outdoor seating areas with landscaping.

Developer Shadow Estates Ltd wanted to place eight prefabricated shipping containers which would house a variety of small businesses. They said the scheme would aim to emulate developments such as Spark in York, which bills itself as housing ‘exciting start-ups working in food, retail, arts and social enterprise’.

Artist impressions published in the plans showed U-shaped layout for the units with four seating benches and landscaping in the space in between.

An officer report on the plans was broadly in support of the concept but described the location as ‘cramped and incongruous’.

The report said: “While in principle the council is supportive of concept behind the proposal, it is considered that the site, by virtue of its small size and location immediately adjacent to the highway is not particularly well suited to accommodate the proposal.

“It is considered that there may be more suitable locations for the type of development elsewhere in Farnworth town centre.”

The notice rejecting the plans said: “The proposed development would, by virtue of its layout, design and siting result in the over development of the plot and would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the area.”

A design and access statement, published in support of the plans, said: “The proposal hopes to be part of the larger regeneration plans which are happening now in Farnworth which include new homes, public square and leisure units.

“The site is across the road from the redevelopment of Farnworth Market and hopes to be a part of the regeneration.

“The proposal involves removing a road however, access into King Street retail park is still possible just off King Street, and there is also an alternative exit and entrance on Cross Street into the retail park.

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“The site will not be enclosed with any fencing or gates, meaning there will be several points of entry to the site, this will also help with circulating pedestrians quickly in and out of the site.

“The proposal is nearby to shops, restaurants and the Farnworth bus station which are all within walking distance from the site. ”