MORE than £2million has been pledged to demolish Skelmersdale College to make way for a future train station in the town.
Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet have approved the £1 acquisition of the former college site and allocated funds to demolish the buildings along with additional costs in preparation of the station development.
Cllr John Fillis, speaking on behalf of all the county councillors for Skelmersdale, Cllr Julie Gibson and Cllr Terry Aldridge, said: “This is another significant step forward in bringing train services back to Skelmersdale, which will be a huge boost to the local economy that will be felt right across West Lancashire and beyond. It demonstrates the confidence that people have in Skelmersdale to grow and prosper even in these very difficult times.
“The station development is coming together due to the determination of local residents and their aspirations for themselves and future generations. As representatives we are only as strong as the people we represent, MP Rosie Cooper has championed the Skelmersdale Train Station, which was established within the West Lancashire Highways and Transport Master Plan in October 2014. Despite changes within the political landscape it has been kept on track, demonstrating its true strategic value within the North West.”
This will now bring all the required land together for the train station, parking and retail development, in addition to the current work already being carried out by West Lancashire Borough Council and partners. The county council in partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have been progressing the Skelmersdale Rail Link and town centre railway station through Network Rail's Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) process for a number of years, supported by Network Rail and consultants.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper commented: “I am pleased that progress continues with the transfer of ownership of these buildings to Lancashire County Council and with the plans to demolish.
“The Transport Minister wrote earlier this year to reassure me, and residents, that they were keen to work with Lancashire County Council to discuss the case for bringing a rail link to Skelmersdale and seeking Government funding.
“He stated that funding could be used to accelerate the development of schemes that are already being considered for restoration – something we are well on with here having already progressed the case for Skelmersdale Railway through the initial GRIP (Governance for?Railway?Investment Projects) stages.
“I am clear that I will hold the Prime Minister to his promise to deliver a train station for Skelmersdale.??A railway station in the heart of?Skelmersdale?will open up a world of economic and social opportunities for the town and its residents.”