Morrisons at Riversway in Preston is set to open a vehicle repair workshop in its car park. The proposal, which has been given the go-ahead by planning officials, involves the installation of a ‘pod’ facility that will handle minor body damage repairs. The workshop will be operated by Direct Line and will be located alongside an already-approved IN’n’OUT Autocentre, which will offer MOTs and mechanical repairs.
The proposed opening hours for the repair workshop are 8am to 8pm from Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sundays and bank holidays. While the bodywork proposal received two objections from locals, citing concerns about increased noise and excessive operating hours, the Preston City Council planning officials determined that the noise generated would not exceed the existing noise levels in the commercial area.
The planning decision report states that the pod facility will only carry out repairs on vehicles with minor damages, and those that do not require extensive work in traditional body shops or render them unfit to be driven on the road. The Direct Line unit will consist of two separate pods, one fitted with the necessary equipment and the other for storage. However, this will result in the loss of 44 parking spaces, while 516 bays will remain to accommodate shoppers.
It is estimated that an average of two repairs will be completed per day, taking approximately three to four hours. Furthermore, a courtesy car will be provided for customers using the repair service. The design statement accompanying the application highlights advancements in technology that allow for quick and safe vehicle body panel repairs using newly developed water-based paints. The workshop will also have built-in dust extraction systems to eliminate airborne dust particles before painting.
Morrisons had previously obtained approval for a similar venture that included two separate services: the IN’n’OUT Autocentre and an Xpress Centre for accident-related damage repairs. However, changes in the proposed operator led to the new application, which has now been granted approval.