THE DEVELOPERS of an out-of-town retail park say the site will ultimately help Accrington town centre.
Developer Peel Holdings want to expand the Whitebirk Retail Park and said this week that their development will aid Accrington's regeneration.
Last week the Observer reported that Hyndburn's Chamber of Trade was concerned that expanding the site would attract business away from Accrington.
Planning manager at Peel Holdings Gareth Finch said: "There will be no loss of clothing and other high street retailers from Accrington town centre to Whitebirk as some people suggest.
"Only two units out of 21 on the Peel Centre will have restrictions against clothing lifted. These units will be occupied by Next and Asda Living and both would also be selling extensive ranges of furniture, electricals and homewares.
"It is essential to understand therefore that even if a fashion retailer wanted to relocate to the Peel centre, we could not accommodate them as planning restrictions would continue to prevent this."
According to Peel Holdings, some residents strongly support the planned expansion.
Mr Finch said: "The views of local residents and on-site shoppers were sought during extensive public consultation regarding the application. The consultation showed 99 per cent of on-site shoppers and 85 per cent of residents consulted were in support of the scheme. The consultation also confirmed the conclusions of other survey work that many Hyndburn residents currently travel to shop at places such as Bolton, Preston, Warrington and Manchester for their non-food shopping. These are the shoppers the proposals are targeting.
"We are hopeful the development will be enough of a change to bring people back to shop in East Lancashire."
Michael Whewell, ex-president of Hyndburn's Chamber of Trade said: "The big problem with this application is once you have one clothing unit restriction lifted you can move on from there. There is no reason to refuse another once the first is gone and they can build on it.
"And before you know it Whitebirk will be open without any restrictions whatsoever and it will be a copy of Deepdale in Preston."