PROPOSALS for a multi-million pound new supermarket at the Concourse could move a step closer to reality when they go before West Lancs planners tonight.
Skelmersdale Limited Partnership’s outline planning application for a five storey foodstore and car park at the site will be considered by the Planning Committee at a meeting tonight (Thursday).
The plans, which include 7,000sq m of gross floorspace, could create up to 400 jobs and ensure the Concourse remains a vital part of the town, according to those behind the scheme. The partnership has been in negotiations with major operators over the store, and is determined to seek the “best outcome” for Skelmersdale, according to Jo Salmon, Asset Manager from London and Cambridge Properties, on behalf of owners the Skelmersdale Limited Partnership.
She said: “It has always been that we would seek the best outcome for the town.
“We believe that protecting the Concourse is an important part of that, ensuring its vitality and viability.”
Construction of the development would be phased to ensure that disruption was kept to a minimum for tenants and shoppers.
There have been five letters of support submitted for the plans by neighbouring properties, but West Lancashire College lodged an objection over concerns it would compromise the town centre masterplan.
The plans are going before the committee just weeks after St Modwen submitted its plans for a £20m new town centre, which also includes proposals for a food store as well as restaurants, shops, a cinema and petrol station.
But in the officer’s report that will go before planners, it states that it would “not be appropriate to refuse [the Concourse] application simply on the basis it may prejudice delivery of the scheme put forward by St Modwen.”
The planning officer’s recommendation is that the decision to grant planning permission be delegated to the borough planner in consultation with the chairman and vice chairman of the planning committee, subject to a planning obligation being entered into to secure a transport contribution.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said: “I very much support the Concourse management's investment in their shopping centre. “Whatever the outcome I look forward to continuing to work with the Concourse as they are a vital part of Skelmersdale's town centre.
“However, my ambitions for Skelmersdale town centre have always been greater than just a new supermarket. As residents will have seen from the St Modwen proposals there are some exciting opportunities coming in the near future.”