Town centre revamp still on track despite council’s costly pandemic struggles

Town centre revamp still on track despite council’s costly pandemic struggles

by Danielle Thompson (June 2020)

PLANS to regenerate Skelmersdale Town Centre remain on track despite concerns that the pandemic had wiped out council spending powers.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has welcomed the council’s continued commitment to finally deliver an improved town centre.

In light of the coronavirus crisis, concerned residents contacted Rosie Cooper MP worried that council funding for the scheme may have been used up in the pandemic response.

She has received assurances from West Lancashire Borough Council who were ‘pleased to confirm unequivocally that no such redirection of funding has taken place and the Council has the necessary financial resources for this project.’

The town centre redevelopment scheme is a partnership between the Borough Council, Homes England and developer St Modwen, and supported by the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Builders arrived on site in January to start construction work on the scheme which will breathe new life into the area by bringing significant investment and new jobs. This project will provide benefits for the whole of West Lancashire not just Skelmersdale.

Phase one will see new shops created to house Lidl and B&M Bargains, and another retail unit will also be constructed. A fantastic new play area will be created in Tawd Valley Park and a new high street will be provided to link West Lancashire College with the rest of the town centre. Enhancements will also be made to the public areas outside Skelmersdale Library.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said: “Residents were understandably concerned that with the pandemic and the council’s major response to supporting residents that there may have been a gap in funding left for the delivery of Skelmersdale Town Centre.

“Having written to West Lancashire Borough Council, I am pleased to receive their absolute assurance that funding remains in place to complete the development and their continued commitment to deliver.

“Phase One of Skelmersdale Town Centre will bring new retail opportunities for the town.

“The new town centre will give a boost to the plans for a Skelmersdale Railway Station and encourage investment in the Concourse, which we have already seen with the announcement of the new cinema.

“The council now needs to press on with developing a ‘night-time’ economy for Skelmersdale including family restaurants and leisure facilities. It will also enable Skelmersdale shops and businesses to benefit from the ninety percent of  Skelmersdale ‘spend’, which is actually spent outside of the town.”

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