A DECISION to allow Home Bargains to move into an Ormskirk retail park is set to breathe new life into the struggling centre – with talks already underway with other retailers.
West Lancs council’s planning committee agreed to lift sales restrictions blocking the discount store’s move from its current Moor Street base to the Hattersley Centre last Thursday.
Home Bargains is now set to begin trading at the site within six months, creating around 35 jobs. And the decision has already led to new interest on the site – with talks underway over the lease of a further 5,500sq ft unit to another retailer.
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Ollie Holt, on behalf of the centre’s owners, said: “It’s fantastic news. We can now blow off the cobwebs of a site that has lain vacant since Focus went into administration in 2011. It has been a troubled unit but this will bring the centre to life. We needed a big employer with the presence of Home Bargains to encourage others to follow.
“Hopefully, retailers for the smaller units will now come in – we have already spoken to one on the back of the decision, which would create around another 10 jobs. We spoke to residents and they are keen to see success at the site. We believe this decision has to benefit the town centre.”
Concerns were raised at the meeting about the potential impact of the town centre of allowing a food retailer onto the site, after a bid by Asda to move in failed in 2011. But two retail consultants found it would not cause significant harm, as only 30% of Home Bargain’s floor space is dedicated to food.
Fears that other food retailers may seek to capitalise on the decision were also raised but borough planner John Harrison said any application against current policies would face the same ‘significant harm’ test.