‘Firm in­ter­est’ in town re­vamp bid

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY EMILIA BONA emilia.bona@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @emil­i­abona

THE re­de­vel­op­ment of Skelmers­dale town cen­tre is at­tract­ing sub­stan­tial in­ter­est from po­ten­tial oc­cu­piers, ac­cord­ing to de­vel­op­ers.

The re­gen­er­a­tion project will cre­ate 500 new jobs, bring­ing the town a new cinema, restau­rants and bars.

Un­der the re­de­vel­op­ment a new high street will also link the ex­ist­ing town cen­tre to the new £26m col­lege.

St. Mod­wen, the com­pany in charge of the de­vel­op­ment, said they are “en­cour­aged” by the level of in­ter­est from po­ten­tial oc­cu­piers in its Skelmers­dale town cen­tre scheme.

The up­date comes af­ter a lengthy legal bat­tle with the Con­course Cen­tre.

Paul Batho, Projects Di­rec­tor at St. Mod­wen, said: “To­gether with our part­ners, West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil and the Homes and Com­mu­ni­ties Agency, we have re-en­gaged with po­ten­tial oc­cu­piers and are ex­tremely en­cour­aged by the re­sponse to date.

“We are now ac­tively work­ing with our part­ners to iden­tify a time frame for de­liv­ery of the project and are en­gaged in pro­gres­sive dis­cus­sions with a num­ber of po­ten­tial oc­cu­piers who are in­ter­ested in com­ing to Skelmers­dale.

“Al­though the re­gen­er­a­tion scheme was granted plan­ning per­mis­sion by the Coun­cil in 2015, the de­ci­sion was sub­ject of legal chal­lenge and con­se­quently we have been un­able to progress the scheme or make any ma­jor an­nounce­ments.

“Hav­ing suc­cess­fully de­fended against the legal chal­lenge, we are now in a po­si­tion to re­sume dis­cus­sions with po­ten­tial oc­cu­piers.”

West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil Leader Ian Mo­ran said: “This ma­jor scheme will ben­e­fit not just the peo­ple of Skelmers­dale but the whole of West Lan­cashire.

“We are work­ing with part­ners and progress is be­ing made. We look for­ward to be­ing in­volved in fur­ther ex­cit­ing an­nounce­ments in the near fu­ture.”

West Lan­cashire MP Rosie Cooper said: “I am de­lighted the part­ners have pro­vided an up­date on the Skelmers­dale re­de­vel­op­ment project.

“It is clear to me though that res­i­dents won’t be as­sured the town cen­tre scheme will be de­liv­ered un­til the dig­gers are fi­nally on site.

“I’m en­cour­aged that the part­ners are in­di­cat­ing they are want­ing to get a move on to make this project as the end of the orig­i­nal 15-year con­tract gets ever closer.

“Along with Skelmers­dale res­i­dents, I am look­ing for­ward to fur­ther mean­ing­ful up­dates from the part­ners on their progress.”

The scheme in­cor­po­rates a va­ri­ety of leisure, re­tail and public space, which bring to­gether es­sen­tial com­po­nents for the trans­for­ma­tion of Skelmers­dale.

Artist’s im­pres­sion of how Skelmers­dale town cen­tre could look

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