Dec 6 2012 by Jamie Bowman, Skelmersdale Advertiser
PLANS for the long-awaited £20m new town centre development for Skelmersdale are set to be given the green light after four years of waiting.
The scheme, which will breath new life into the town centre and create around 350 jobs, is expected to be given final approval by the county council.
Tonight (Thursday), West Lancs Council will delegate the decision to the borough planner without posting any further objections.
The scheme includes plans for a five-screen cinema complex and 26,000 sq ft of new restaurants and shops, a 30,000 sq ft food store with associated parking, a petrol station, and improved and extended public spaces and links to and improvements within the Tawd Valley.
Following positive public support at recent consultations, only minimal alterations have been made to the original plan, such as a change to the location of the petrol filling station.
Ideas from the public on linkage were also taken into account.
The proposal is expected to create new links between the development and existing sites such as The Concourse and West Lancashire College. A sweeping promenade terrace is proposed in order to link the two and a new public square around the existing Nye Bevan swimming pool and library. There are also plans for a new youth zone, part of a Lancashire County Council initiative to provide more facilities for young people in the town.
As part of the plans, new public spaces could feature street-lighting, paving, street furniture and new tree planting, as well as improved views of the Tawd Valley.
A new children’s play park is expected to be delivered alongside enhancement to and improved access through the Tawd Valley Park.
MP Rosie Cooper, speaking at the time of the plan’s submission in August, said: "I very much support the Concourse management's investment in their shopping centre and their efforts to provide the best possible shopping offer.
"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. A town centre the residents of Skelmersdale deserve.
“I am also pushing hard for a railway station in the town centre that will benefit the whole of Skelmersdale.”