WEST Lancashire Borough Council will remove the pagoda at Wheatsheaf Walk, in Ormskirk, after claiming it will make the town centre safer for shoppers during the pandemic.
The removal of the pagoda, which has been opposed by some residents and councillors, will “make the area more open” as locals try to keep social distancing.
The proposed scheme was voted through at the council's Executive Overview and Scrutiny Committee on June 25 as part of wider proposals to improve the town centre.
Our West Lancashire Councillor Adrian Owens, who was against the plan, said: “There are arguments both ways, but our argument is that given the public outcry about the decision to remove the pagoda in isolation and not as part of a comprehensive improvement scheme, it was right to halt and carry out another consultation that engaged local residents.”
In response, Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said: “Our public space plans are to enhance West Lancashire for everyone to use and enjoy. The removal of the pagoda will make the businesses within Wheatsheaf Walk more visible from Burscough Street and assist their trade at a difficult time for retailers.
“The whole scheme will make Wheatsheaf Walk a really attractive space for people to visit the town centre. "
A spokesperson for West Lancashire Borough Council said: “We have brought forward the idea to remove the pagoda separately from the rest of the Wheatsheaf Walk project in response to the coronavirus pandemic, as this will increase the visibility of businesses and make the area more open to help keep everyone safe.
“This first step can be done quickly with minimal disruption for businesses. It is just one element of ambitious plans to invest in public realm works across the borough. The proposals for Wheatsheaf Walk, with new paving, lighting and seating and enhancing the existing wheatsheaf stone motif, as important recognition of its history, will be undertaken as soon as possible after the removal of the pagoda and planters.”