Cinema for Skelmersdale after 38-year wait

US firm Star Cinemas is set to open its first UK branch at the Concourse Shopping Centre this year, almost 40 years after the town’s last cinema closed its doors. 

Skelmersdale in Lancashire has been without silver screen entertainment since 1982 but Star, which will be located on the ground floor of Concourse and offer cinema tickets for £5, plans to open to the public in August or September this year, depending on the easing of Government lockdown restrictions. 

The shopping centre is owned by the Skelmersdale Limited Partnership, a joint venture between London and Cambridge Properties and Threadneedle Investments. The partnership was granted planning consent in 2014 for an extension to the shopping centre, which at the time included a cinema on the second floor.

The Star Cinema theatre will be housed on the ground floor of the shopping centre.

Cllr Ian Moran, leader of West Lancashire Council, said: “This is…a real expression of faith in Skelmersdale at this difficult time for town centres.  

“The people of Skelmersdale have been wanting a cinema in the town centre for many years and, alongside the new town centre development, this demonstrates that the town is really on the up.” 

Nearby, work on the first phase of St Modwen’s 50,000 sq f, £19m retail project began in January. 

The first phase of the project will see the construction of a Lidl supermarket and a B&M Bargains store as well as improvements to Skelmersdale public library. 

The second phase of the scheme moots a 50,000 sq ft leisure offer including restaurants and a multiscreen cinema operated by Reel. 

St Modwen is delivering the project in partnership with Homes England, after winning a legal battle to advance the scheme when Skelmersdale Limited Partnership earlier opposed it. 

SLP was granted planning permission in 2014 for a £4m leisure extension, including a seven-screen cinema, to the Concourse Shopping Centre.

The following year, the partnership launched a judicial review of West Lancashire Council’s decision to approve the St Modwen project, but the High Court ruled against SLP in the case.

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