work on the long awaited new town centre for Skelmersdale is about to get underway again following completion of all legal processes.
Site preparations took place before Christmas ready for the bulk of the work to get underway in the weeks and months ahead.
The borough council says a ‘significant step forward for the project has been taken with this latest news.
Building work is expected to take about a year. Much of the first few months will be spent digging foundations and doing other essential groundworks.
Late spring to early summer 2021 will be an “exciting time” for the development, say the council, as residents will be able to see the steel frames of the new retail units emerging from behind the hoardings.
“Retailers are then expected to move in to fit out the shops and our plan is for us all to be able to start enjoying the new town centre from Easter 2022,” said a council spokesperson.
Councillor Ian Moran, West Lancashire Borough Council leader, said: “We apologise for the delays which have been out of our control but we have worked with our partners to overcome them.
“I am delighted that we have been able to secure this development, working closely with our partners and really excited about the opportunities and benefits that this will provide for our communities in Skelmersdale. I am looking forward to seeing our great new town centre develop throughout next year."
Alex Jaques, development director at St Modwen, the scheme’s developers, said: “All the partners have been working really hard on this project and we are very pleased that construction work will soon begin again."
Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire, added: “It’s great news that we are ready to start the long awaited Skelmersdale Town Centre scheme.
“I’ve always said Skelmersdale residents will remain sceptical until they see diggers on site - so residents will be delighted to hear this news and seeing Caddick’s (construction) diggers on site will get 2021 off to a much better start after a very long wait and a tough 2020. Cont. inside
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“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.”
The town centre development will see new shops created to house Lidl and B&M Bargains, and another retail unit will also be constructed to house a further business over time.
A 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, with serviced plots for future phases of development. Enhancements will also be made to the public areas outside Skelmersdale Library.
People living in communities in Skelmersdale and the rest of West Lancashire will be consulted on future phases of development in due course. The council is starting to have discussions with partner organisations about how plans can start to be developed and a process for involving all stakeholders.
The town centre redevelopment scheme is a partnership between the Borough Council and developer St Modwen, and is supported by the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership.