WORK to demolish the ‘pagoda’ at Wheatsheaf Walk in Ormskirk will go ahead in 2021 council chiefs say, after the original project was put on hold after lockdown.
A spokesman for West Lancashire Borough Council said: “We are continuing to work on our exciting plans to improve the public areas around Wheatsheaf Walk.
“While it was not ultimately possible to remove the pagoda as quickly as originally planned following the easing of lockdown, it will now be included in our ambitious overall works for Wheatsheaf Walk which will begin in early 2021.
“These will feature new paving, lighting and seating and an enhancement of the existing wheatsheaf stone motif as important recognition of its history.
“We will closely liaise with the businesses about final proposals and to minimise any disruption.
“The costs of the works have not yet been finalised, but there is no reason to believe costs have doubled at this point in time, as suggested.
“We very much share the passion for West Lancashire to be a great place to live and work and because of this we welcome comments and listen to suggestions from people living and working in the borough when we are planning to make improvements.
“We held a public consultation on proposals for the improvements at Wheatsheaf Walk, including the potential removal of the pagoda in August 2019.
“The majority of people who responded were in favour of the option to remove the pagoda as part of the new scheme.
“Therefore the decision was made to move forward with those improvements incorporating the removal of the pagoda to open up the space, improve the visibility of the businesses there, and create more flexibility about how the space can be used.”
The Our West Lancashire group on West Lancashire Council have renewed their call for a ‘meaningful’ public consultation over the demolition plans saying there is now adequate time to do so.”
Our West Lancashire Knowsley ward spokesman, Neil Pye, said: “The council’s previous consultation was so poor at engaging the public that only 28 responses were made, yet hundreds commented on OWL’s social media when the demolition announcement was made.
“This fresh delay gives the council plenty of time to organise an effective and engaging public consultation that will provide the updated costs of including the pagoda demolition in the Wheatsheaf Walk improvement scheme. We need to be sure that money spent in our town centres is spent wisely and people should be given their say on this.”