Public inquiry to be held into £700m Tithebarn development after complaints about its size from nearby Blackpool and Blackburn

The government has confirmed that there will be a public inquiry into the £700m Tithebarn development in central Preston.

Preston City Council had previously granted planning permission for the mixed-use scheme to developers Lend Lease and Grosvenor, which comprises 84,000 sq m of retail, anchored by John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, 400 flats, a cinema and a bus station.

Tithebarn regeneration scheme for Preston town centre

But nearby Lancashire local authorities Blackpool and Blackburn claim that the scheme is too large and will entice consumers from their town centres to Preston. CABE also criticised the scheme for failing to address the needs of pedestrians.

The developers said in a statement: "We are obviously very disappointed that the government has decided it is necessary to 'call in' the Preston Tithebarn regeneration scheme, which proposes to create a modern and vibrant city centre for the entire region, and attract jobs and investment to Lancashire. The Preston Tithebarn Partnership is discussing next steps in response to this decision with Preston City Council."

In a joint statement, Preston councillors Ken Hudson, John Collins and Danny Gallagher said: "It's disappointing as we still believe a public inquiry into Tithebarn is unnecessary. There are very clear and strong planning reasons why Tithebarn should be allowed to go ahead in Preston and we will now make that case at public inquiry."