£20m retail-leisure development for Skem approved

Planning consent has been granted for a 100,000 sq ft scheme by St Modwen in Skelmersdale town centre.

The plans are substantially smaller than the pre-recession proposal by national developer St Modwen. West Lancashire Borough Council and the Homes & Communities Agency appointed St Modwen to redevelop the town centre in 2007. St Modwen drew up plans for a £350m development totalling 500,000 sq ft in 2008 but these were abandoned in the downturn.

Last week's planning consent allows for the regeneration of land between the town's new college and the existing town centre.

There will be 50,000 sq ft of retail and 50,000 sq ft of leisure including a Reel cinema, restaurants and bars to drive night-time trade.

There will be a new high street and improvement work on the public areas outside the library and Nye Bevan Leisure Centre.

Paul Batho, projects director at St Modwen, said: "This is the right outcome and great news for the people of Skelmersdale and for the town's long term economy. Our scheme will transform the town centre, bringing essential retail and leisure, significant investment and new jobs, providing multiple benefits for the entire community. We are looking forward, with our partners and confirmed anchor tenant Reel Cinema, to getting started on site to bring this much anticipated scheme to fruition."

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